Toyota, Coca-Cola Help 4-H Expand Water Quality Program

The Toyota USA Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation collectively donated an additional $850,000 -- $600,000 from Toyota and $250,000 from Coca-Cola -- to expand this work into five new states, bringing total program participation to 10 states.

“We could not ask for better partners than The Coca-Cola and Toyota USA Foundation as we continue to strengthen and broaden our exciting environmental education efforts,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and chief executive officer of National 4-H Council. “With this continued generous support, we will expand our efforts into five new states and reach more than 40,000 additional 4-H youth and mentors through active new 4-H2O projects.”

Currently serving communities in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi and West Virginia, 4-H2O Community Projects will now add Texas. Each state has chosen communities where 4-H youth identify and implement local water-related projects. In 2008, 4-H2O Community Projects reached over 73,000 community members in five states and created 46 local partnerships.

Some of those projects include:

  • Kentucky counties participating are using Watershed Watch, utilizing hands-on water testing and analysis to determine the impact of non-point source pollution in watersheds in their communities. They use GPS units to conduct a community survey of waterways, detailing the quality of individual streams.
  • Fourteen counties in Mississippi are using the Adopt-A-Stream program. 4-H’ers identify water chemistry and quality in their local waterways in the program. Some use GPS units to mark the water quality samples and for other community conservation projects, such as marking storm drains.
  • Bexar County, Texas focuses on teaching youth about water origin, usage, pollutants, and conservation in an in school setting for elementary school students. High school students are trained in science classes to teach water concepts at water fairs to younger 4-H’ers as well as other community members.

The Web site serves as the interactive hub for 4-H2O programming around the nation, where youth share their experiences and what they have learned about water conservation and water quality testing. For example, 4-H youth in Kentucky collaborated with Montana State University to develop a vodcast documenting their trip to the Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant and discussing the water management techniques they learned from the environmental engineers there. Funds will support the capabilities of 4-H2Online to host additional youth vodcasts, 4-H curriculum guides and online educational activities.

The Coca-Cola Foundation has provided the funding to launch 4-H2O: Replenish. This water conservation project will serve Arizona, Oklahoma, Georgia and Wisconsin. In each of these four states, 4-H, the National Water Program and the Land Grant Universities are working together to find ways to educate communities on useful water-saving techniques.

More specifically, these projects include:

  • Ten counties in Oklahoma are constructing various water harvesting and saving systems, from six thousand gallon rain barrels, to drip irrigation in community gardens. These large-scale projects are leading to learning that youth and community members can take home with them to implement on a smaller scale. One of the 10 4-H2O: Replenish sites in the state collected 14,000 gallons of rainwater in May alone, and used it in an irrigation system serving a community vegetable garden.
  • Wisconsin is building 10 rain gardens across the state with 4-H youth, with a goal of saving at least 120,000 gallons of water. Along with the rain gardens, youth will learn how to build rain barrels to water their gardens, saving even more water along the way.

4-H2O: Replenish has a total projected reach of 37,000 youth and 50 million gallons of water saved.

4-H is a community of six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of National 4-H Headquarters.

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