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Service-Learning Projects Aid Watershed

by Brittany B.

Wyoming County, WV, 4-H FLOW, an AmeriCorps Learn and Serve grantee of the West Vi=rginia Commission for National and Community Service, completed more than 500 hours of watershed service-learning projects. Youth met after school twice a month for six months, completing project WET curriculum activities.

One of their activities was hosting a guest speaker from the Raleigh County, WV, Solid Waste Authority, who taught youth to reduce, reuse, and recycle--including composting. The youth unanimously agreed that since styrofoam is nonbiodegradable, they would tell their families to opt for other disposable materials. They also decided to make decorative stepping stones for a local community center using recyclable materials.

4-H FLOW youth (grades 2- 8) provided outreach to the community about the local Upper Guyandotte Watershed in a community scavenger hunt. Mullens, WV, community members remembered the disastrous flood of 2001 and described the relief efforts to the youth. When the Guyandotte River's waters rose again in May 2009, flooding Wyoming and Mingo Counties, 4-H FLOW youth assisted households in Black Eagle, WV, with clean up and with inventorying damaged items.

The 4-H FLOW youth completed service projects at least one weekend per month. They planted trees at the Mullens Middle School on Earth Day 2009 and planted a raised garden bed at the local community center, tested the water quality of Horse Creek Lake, identified macro invertebrates in the Guyandotte River, cleaned up trash from the Slab Fork Creek and Guyandotte River, cleaned out tires that were dumped in the watershed, and provided outreach at the Guyandotte River Celebration.

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