Thursday, March 3, 2011

4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp is July 31-August 6 at Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle. This camp is designed for Michigan teens ages 13 to 15 years old and has received national recognition for program excellence. The camp is nestled between the shores of Lake Huron and the inland Lake Esau. Both 4-H and non-4-H youth are encouraged to attend.

This Michigan State University pre-college program provides hands-on experiences with Michigan’s natural resources, builds leadership skills and encourages career exploration. “Campers gain a greater understanding of Michigan’s natural resources and learn to take care of them. They also enjoy activities such as charter boat fishing, kayaking and sailing,” said Judy Ratkos, program leader for 4-H Youth Development with Michigan State University Extension.

Other hands-on learning campers get to enjoy include using GPS and GIS technology to explore and map unique wetland habitats, snorkeling, fossil hunting, shooting sports, outdoor survival and photography.  “They’ll have a lot of fun, learn in the outdoors, enjoy evenings around a campfire, and develop everlasting friendships with other teens from across the state,” Ratkos said.

The fee to attend is $335; youth not enrolled in 4-H pay an additional $10 4-H participation fee. (Local scholarship support may be available.) Teens interested in attending 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp, whether 4-H members or not, should contact their county MSU Extension office at 1-888-MSUE-4MI. The registration deadline is May 16, 2011. If space is still available after May 16, registrations will be accepted but will have an added $25 late fee.

To learn more about camp, check out the information and slideshow on-line at

Exploration Days 2011

Registration Books and forms are now available at your County MSU Extension office or may be downloaded here:  
Registration Forms (only)

Registration opens March 22. Get your forms in early for a better chance to get your first choice of classes.

About 4-H Exploration Days
More than 2,500 students and adult chaperones will be on the Michigan State University campus June 22-24 for the 42nd annual 4-H Exploration Days.  Participants stay in residence halls and attend sessions in their areas of interest ranging from veterinary medicine to Web design, performing arts, how to start their own business, organic farming and many more. Nearly 200 hands-on classroom and field trip sessions are offered.   Participants from Marquette County must have turned 12 years old before January 1, 2011 in order to participate in the event.

Exploration Days, Michigan’s largest annual 4-H event, is designed to help students learn new ideas and techniques while exploring career options and developing decision-making, independence and teamwork skills. They also meet and interact with people from different backgrounds and areas throughout 
Michigan. 4-H volunteers and staff are on hand to offer oversight and guidance.

“Exploration Days gives 4-H youth an authentic collegiate experience,” says Judy Ratkos, MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development program leader and coordinator of the event. “They are exposed to things they cannot get at the local level. Information learned in a session may spark their interest in a college major or career.”

When not in sessions, students will have a plethora of recreation and learning choices. This year’s Exploration Days features tours of the MSU Skandalaris Football Center, Breslin Student Events Center, the MSU Dairy Store, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the 4-H Children’s Gardens and a planetarium show. The opening night entertainment on June 22 features “4-H’s Got Talent!” with performances by a variety of talented groups and individual 4-H’ers and alumni at the Wharton Center Great Hall. The annual State 4-H Awards Celebration, a formal event celebrating the accomplishments of more than 160 Michigan 4-H members, takes place June 23.

For more information about 4-H Exploration Days, visit 

News from the U.P. State Fair

Photo by Martin Cathrae

The Upper Peninsula State Fair Authority recently approved a Market Goat Show and Sale for the 2011 Upper Peninsula State Fair.

After considerable research and under the direction of Tom Klink, Livestock Supervisor, and Jim Decremer, Dairy and Goat Superintendent, showing and selling market goats at the U.P. State Fair will become a reality in 2011.  Tom states that market goats have become a popular livestock project at fairs throughout the country and the U.P. State Fair will now offer this opportunity to exhibitors throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Goats must be at least 50% meat breed, born after December 1, 2010 and can be of either sex.  A minimum fair weight of 75 pounds is required and there is no maximum weight.  Goats with visible signs of fungus, prolapsed or sore mouth will not be allowed to exhibit.  No training spike collars will be allowed or used at the show.  Horns are optional.  The pre-entry deadline will be the same as for lambs and hogs  - June 1, 2011.  Pre-entry rules and forms will be mailed to Upper Peninsula MSU Extension offices in mid April.  The sale order of the top twelve goats will be determined by the judge and sold at the Junior Market Livestock Auction on Saturday, August 20, 2011.  This is a one-year trial program.

Ninety-four pre-entries have been received for this year’s Junior Steer Show and Sale.  Ear tags will be mailed to the 4-H leaders or individual exhibitors in March.  Ninety steers were sold at the 2010 U.P. State Fair Junior Market Sale.

Recent appointments to the U.P. State Fair Livestock Advisory Committee include Jim Kronemeyer, Pickford - Dairy Representative; Mark Veeser, Powers - Beef Representative; Carol Quist, Carney - Sheep Representative and Phillip Talsma, Skandia - Goat Representative.

The Livestock Advisory Committee will accept letters of interest for the newly created position of Youth Livestock Exhibitor Representative until April 15.  Letters should be submitted to the Upper Peninsula State Fair/Delta County Chamber of Commerce, 230 Ludington Street, Escanaba, MI 49829.

For additional information about any of the livestock shows, please contact Sandy Groleau, Exhibitor’s Manager, 906 384-6898 or Tom Klink, Livestock Supervisor, 906 644-7148.