4-H teens share knowledge with youth at ag day


Zoonotic, aerosol, fomite, vector-borne.

Do you know what all of these words mean? Up until last April, I had little knowledge of some of these terms.

I gained an in-depth understanding of each of these terms, however, when I watched two Jackson County 4-H members teach more than 300 youth at Seymour’s annual ag day at Cortland Elementary School. They were teaching youth about the many different ways disease is transmitted.

A brief explanation of each term is listed below:

  • Zoonotic — diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases
  • Aerosol — transfer of pathogens through the air
  • Fomite — fomites are inanimate objects that become contaminated by an infected animal, disease transmission happens when an animal or human contacts the object and is infected
  • Vector-borne — diseases transferred by arthropod or insects

Michael Claycamp and Sydney Wiesehan, two Jackson County 4-H members, were equipped to teach about disease transmission because they spent a weekend being trained in animal biosecurity practices through the Indiana 4-H Teens as Teachers Program.

Disease transmission was just one of the concepts they learned about while studying animal biosecurity.

Teens as Teachers is a hands-on opportunity for teams of youth to learn how to create, implement, teach and facilitate hands-on learning experiences for youth in their communities.

This unique opportunity is open to youth in grades 9 to 12 and equips teens with specific subject matter, public speaking skills and lesson planning experience.

The program is broken down into four tracks: biotechnology, animal biosecurity, healthy living and teen leadership.

Michael and Sydney have been extremely busy sharing their knowledge with the community. More than 70 youth and adults learned about animal biosecurity at the Jackson County Fair. They were also able to teach more than 40 youth at the Emerson and Seymour-Redding Kids Klub programs last fall. In November, they both attended the National 4-H Educator Conference in Indianapolis and showcased their skills for 4-H educators visiting from across the United States.

In March, Michael and Sydney plan to offer an Animal Biosecurity SPARK Club experience for Jackson County youth in grades 3 to 8. The one-day SPARK Club experience will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 19 at the Purdue Extension Office at 111 S. Main St. in Brownstown.

Youth who attend will learn about biosecurity basics, disease transmission, pathogens, vaccines, immunity, germs, and infectious disease. Youth wishing to enroll may contact the Purdue Extension Office at 812-358-6101 for information.

The Indiana 4-H Program offers a wide variety of hands-on learning experiences for youth. The Teens as Teachers Program is just one way 4-H enables teens to become leaders in their community. The goal of the biosecurity lessons is to teach the community about biosecurity practices to keep animals and humans safe and healthy.

For information about Jackson County 4-H, be sure to visit our website at extension.purdue.edu/jackson/ or “Like” Purdue Extension Jackson County on Facebook.

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