District Sponsors Texas 4-H2O Water Ambassadors

The North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is proud to support the
second year of the Texas 4-H2O Ambassador Program. Students interested in
participating in the program will find application information at the end of this
story. This story is provided courtesy of Texas AgriLife Extension.

Thanks to the support of many in the water industry, a new Texas 4-H
initiative is helping to grow the next generation of water leaders. 2017 marked
the debut of the Texas 4-H Water Ambassador Program including selection of the
first cohort of high school youth. The goal of the Program is to provide youth an
opportunity to gain advanced knowledge and develop leadership skills related to
the science, engineering, technology and management of water in Texas.
Sixteen youth representing 13 Texas counties were selected to participate in a
summer 4-H2O Youth Leadership Academy. This 8-day educational tour experience
covered 2,200 miles, featured 30 tours stops and educational presentations, and
engaged nearly 80 water industry professionals across the State. The Academy
exposed ambassadors to a wide range of water issues, provided a unique perspective
of the many challenges faced by local communities, and offered a behind-thescenes
look into water planning. Tour stops and presentations addressed water law,
policy, and management as well as hydrogeology, water treatment, and emerging
technologies in irrigation management, reuse, desalination, and aquifer storage
and recovery.

Logan West (Wilson Co.) discusses rainfall harvesting at the Wilson County 4-H Kick-off.

For participating youth, this experience greatly increased their appreciation
for the complexity of meeting water demand with limited and uncertain water
supply. It also opened their eyes to the many career opportunities in the water
industry. “I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things and explore
the water industry this past summer. I gained a new perspective: Water doesn’t
just appear in your faucets and hoses, it’s carefully planned and managed by a
community of passionate people.” –Molly McKinney (4-H Water Ambassador
from San Antonio)

As 4-H Water Ambassadors, these youth are charged with providing
water education and service back in their communities. Since July 2017, water
ambassadors have provided more than 350 hours of service and have reached more
than 4,200 adults and youth with water education. They lead water education efforts
in their schools, 4-H clubs, and at community events. Several ambassadors have
presented to their local groundwater conservation districts and at regional water
planning meetings. For some, this Program has sparked an interest in advocacy
Logan West (Wilson Co.) discusses rainfall harvesting at the Wilson County 4-H kickoff.
and collaboration. “As an amateur ecologist and small farmer equipped by Texas
4-H2O, I have recently presented on new agriculture methods that protect soil
and water at a science conference, and joined a citizen-lead committee to manage
water pollution on Chocolate Bayou in Brazoria County.” –Christian Hernandez
(4-H Water Ambassador from Manvel)

These activities encourage ambassadors to continually increase their
water knowledge, and provide a unique opportunity to develop leadership and
presentation skills that will serve them well in the future. “The Texas 4-H Water
Ambassadors Program has opened my eyes to a whole new world of water, both in
industry and government. This program has provided me with many opportunities
to increase my leadership skills, especially in the areas of teaching and teamwork.”
–John Phillip Jones (4-H Water Ambassador from Pattison)

Online applications for the 2018-2019 class of 4-H Water Ambassadors will
be accepted February 19 through May 20. More details about the Program and
application instructions are available online at https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/projects/
water/. To be eligible, youth must be entering the 9th, 10th, or 11th grades for the
2018-2019 school year. Applicants do not have to be a current 4-H member. If
selected, these individuals will be required to join a local 4-H club.

Those selected must participate in the summer 4-H2O Youth Leadership
Academy July 21-28, 2018. Drop-off and pick-up in Austin. Please contact David
Smith, 4-H2O Program Coordinator, at davidsmith@tamu.edu with any questions.