Why Science Matters to Youth across the Country
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Late in the fall of 2017, Bayer and National 4-H Council launched the “Why Science Matters to Me” photo contest as part of its Science Matters initiative. Youth across the country ages 14 to 18 were encouraged to share a photo showing why science matters to their health, animals or the food they eat. We received hundreds of creative entries and loved seeing how students recognize the impact science has on daily lives.
The competition was strong, but a combination of public voting and a panel of Bayer and 4-H judges selected three grand prize winners: Abbegail King, Makenna Wickenheiser and Rachel Brokenshire. These three young women joined hundreds of other young leaders in Washington, D.C., on January 12 for the National Youth Summit on Agri-Science, where they developed the skills and knowledge needed for the challenges facing agriculture, food security and sustainability, and worked in teams with their peers to develop local impact projects to complete in their communities over the coming year. So what makes these future leaders in Ag stand out? Let’s take a look.
After winning 1st place in the 4-H North Carolina state competition for judging, Abbegail joined the 4-H Dairy Club. The club launched her passion for cows, and now she wants to pursue a career in dairy science, including opening a creamery to help teach her community about the industry. Her commitment to her goal runs deep – she gets up at 4:30 every morning to milk her neighbor’s cows! Abbegail recognizes the importance of science not only in her life but also in the lives of the cattle she works with. As the demand for milk grows, she sees science as the key to ensuring all people have access to the products they want, as well as the foundation for ensuring a safe milking process and preventing diseases.
Makenna believes science is the bridge between agriculture and sustainability to provide the world with healthy food. Through her 4-H club, Makenna has become a beekeeper. Science helps her to support bee colonies while dealing with challenges, such as overwintering, pests and maintaining habitat. She has learned there is a balance to maintain while working with hives; if she takes too much honey, the bees will not be able to sustain the hive for the next generation. Makenna draws similarities to food production – we have to balance what we take from the land now to make sure there is enough food for tomorrow.
Rachel has grown up as part of a 6th generation farm family in Iowa, where her grandfather inspired her to learn about the impact of science on sustainable food production. She is passionate about the importance of cover crops and maintaining soil health to support this sustainable system. In her entry photo above, she is showing off cereal rye, the current cover crop her grandfather is using in his fields. By protecting the land and utilizing the science behind sustainable agriculture, she believes that healthy food can be grown for all today and for years to come.
Congratulations again to our winners!