The 4-H organization of Virginia is developing a Marine and Aquatic Education Program with a strong field study component for youngsters ages five through nine. They plan to reach these young people through local and community 4-H clubs and in summer camps. One part of the program is aimed at the handicapped and development of strategies to meet their special needs. Other components of the program include volunteer training of high school students and adult leaders and a series of publications with emphasis on "hands-on" activities. There is a strong national dissemination plan and, through a national survey, the Virginia 4-H have determined that 27 state 4-H organizations are interested in adapting program. The 4-H organization is the largest youth organization in the United States with a membership of 4.3 million young people. They have a strong network, both urban and rural, with minorities representing 22% of the membership, 53% are female and 63% are under 11 years of age. The Virginia 4-H mirrors the national picture but with a slightly more rural membership. This project provides an opportunity to strengthen science learning outside of the formal education system by supporting a test project in marine education. Over the next three years the project will be tested with 38,500 youngsters and 500 adults. The program will then be expanded to all 115,467 Virginia members as well as a strong outreach effort to the national membership. This project is directed at two important goals for the Informal Science Education Program: strengthening out-of-school science programs for young people and the handicapped. The marine science area is one of high interest and significance both locally and nationally. The staff are experienced and committed and the program is cost effective at a little over $3.00 per person.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
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Hyman H. Field
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Virginia Cooperative Extension Service
United States
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