EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was written by Jonas Kern, a 4-H20 ambassador from Ellinwood. It was submitted by Michelle Beran, the 4-H and youth development agent for the Cottonwood District, Barton County office.
Do you like water conservation and really want to convey the message to the public? Well, have I got the position for you! 4-H Water Ambassadors are a group of teens in Barton and Ellis County that focus on the importance of water quality, water conservation and water careers.
My name is Jonas Kern and I’m a sophomore at Ellinwood High School. I have been a 4-H20 ambassador for two years. My favorite part of being an ambassador with this program is the opportunity to learn and present. I am heavily involved in the wildlife project within 4-H. Teaching about the importance of water as a natural resource helped me reach my project goals.
To be a water ambassador, teens must apply to join and then attend two training sessions where they learn about different leadership and presentation skills. After training in Hays, the ambassador team gets to tour the municipal water treatment plant, and the wastewater treatment plant. There are a lot of steps to ensure we have clean and safe drinking water!
The other training is held at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, and we get to tour the Cheyenne Bottoms wetland and learn how water acts and affects the environment. During the training, we learn to lead activities to teach others about water.
I personally like to lead the “Incredible Journey.” It is an activity where you become a water molecule and travel through the water cycle. You might end up in an animal, a cloud or an ocean. Students create a bracelet with beads to remind them of their trip through the hydrosphere.
I led the activity at the state 4-H Discovery Days and at the Barton County Fair.
And that is what water ambassadors is all about. After we learn how to do cool activities, we go out and lead presentations at a variety of places, like the Hays Public Library, Sternberg Museum or the Kansas Wetlands Education Center. We are always looking for opportunities to present for other organizations.
If you are interested in being an ambassador or want the ambassadors to present at your event, contact the Cottonwood District Extension Office. Michelle Beran in Barton County at 620-793-1910 or BT@listserv.ksu.edu, or Tamara Robertson in Ellis County at 785-628-9430 or email@example.com. Applications for the 2023-2024 team will be due December 1.
For more information on this article or other 4-H Youth and Development related questions email Beran at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-793-1910.