Youth Program Focuses on Agriculture and Biodiversity

April 11, 2018

Over 120 Iowa youth are set to use their critical thinking skills to take part in solving a real-world agriculture challenge through the 2018 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE) Monarchs on the Move Challenge. Youth will take part in the challenge as they attend the Maize Program on April 15th, a Youth Leadership Accelerator designed to provide learning and leadership experiences for youth that relate to Latino and Native American culture.  

Through the Monarchs on the Move Program, youth will be challenged to learn how increasing biodiversity, specifically by increasing habitat for the monarch butterfly, benefits agriculture. Youth will learn about monarch butterfly biology and will evaluate a landscape to identify opportunities to increase biodiversity. Acting as consultants, teams will review a land plot scenario to identify three recommended practices to improve the biodiversity of the area and will evaluate the impact of their choices on increasing monarch habitat. These programs are designed to help youth understand the collaborative effort required to increase monarch habitat and thus contribute to sustainable monarch populations. Students will learn about conservation practices in both urban and agricultural landscapes, including the conservation reserve program, roadside planting of native plants, and integrated pest management. This collaborative, hands-on challenge will help youth learn about the unique lifecycle of butterflies, and understand the challenges that impact the monarch butterfly’s declining population.  

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program is presented by National 4-H Council and Monsanto to help develop critical workforce skills in young people and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. Students in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska will have the opportunity to participate in the Monarchs on the Move Challenge throughout the spring and summer. Additional Monarchs on the Move Workshops will be held across the state of Iowa. Visit the website and Facebook page to learn more and find events.

Maya Hayslett
Crop Science Youth Education Specialist
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach