Today I took my collection and vast insect knowledge to Brooke Creek Preserve to help Mr. James with a presentation. Students from SPC were coming out today to learn about insects. I was there to support the program, show my collections and answer questions. We had a lovely time learning about insects in the classroom then went on a longer hike to see what we could find. I was able to help ID specimens and help answer questions along the paths. I absolutely love doing these outreaches. I even wore my SPC hoodie and was introduced as a Dual Enrolled student.
Insectathon is hands down my favorite 4-H Florida event. Each year we meet and compete in an identification, collection, and knowledge contest. This year I worked very hard on my collection and managed to place 1st with all of my collections (general, specialty and education).
I had to give an educational talk about my themed box in front of the judges. I held my cool and shared my vast knowledge of the insects and their awesome adaptations. All the photos in my presentation were taken myself. My art project “Wonderful World of Entomology” also received a first place ribbon. Our senior team additionally placed first after a fun battle in the Linaean Games.
When it came time for the awards I was nervous. I had really worked hard for this event this year. I ended up placing first in seniors and not only got a cool ribbon but I was awarded a renewable scholarship if I come to UF to study entomology. Dr. Baldwin has been so supportive of this program and I appreciate that 4-H and UF have provided this opportunity for youth like me to grow and develop while cramming our heads full of all sorts of entomology knowledge. I have a solid foundation and understanding of what I want to do in the future. 4-H life skills have taught me a lot and allowed me these wonderful opportunities. Next year I return but can’t compete. So I will be a volunteer and helping with our team to grow and develop them even more. I love everything that this opportunity gives to me and more.
We have all been working really hard all year for this weekend. We headed to Gainesville and all got checked into our various hotels. We met at Satchels for pizza and hanging out time. Then back at the hotel we had a before bed cookie party. Cookies and milk and a final review before tomorrow! Good luck fellow Insectathon members!
Mom was contacted by the news about wanting to do a short feature about the archery program we run. What a great opportunity for spreading the 4-H word. The reported sadly didn’t include all of the good meaty 4-H part about if being a 501c3, youth program, focused on life skills, volunteer led and all the amazing opportunities youth have. Instead he did focus a little on life skills but made it sound like we were all delinquents a little. It was a life lesson for our club about how media can twist a simple story into something that it isn’t quite the same. What happens in the editing room can really change the impact and focus of a story. It was good press for Pinellas County 4-H Archery either way.
Not many people saw the segment since it was trumped by TRUMP and his impeachment trial. The station it aired on went to the national feed during the segment. We were able to see it online and then it was eventually posted to their website.
We went to a class on Bronze Age weaponry. We learned the history of the weapons that were used int he Bronze Age and the functional aspects and benefits of each type of sword. We got to then pick a blank to make our sword from. We worked with sand and frames to create a blank mold for the melted aluminum to be poured into. My first mold fell short but we quickly fixed it up and recast it. They when the rest of the swords were cast we learned some science of alloys and metals and about tensile strength. Who knew that history and science could be so engaging and hands on, only homeschoolers! haha Since I was one of the older teens, I was elected to help with the final shaping and smoothing of all 27 blades! I put on the safety gear and got a quick lesson in sanding and grinding. I was insanely nervous at first but quickly got the hang of it and was soon a picky professional. I was turning out finely finished and sharpened (slightly) swords for the other boys. We then wrapped leather grips onto the blades to finish them up. This was an awesome event. I highly recommend that you google Swordcasting guy and see if you can get into one of his classes soon. He is from Texas but will come to any area if the demand is high. Someday I want to make a Bronze sword with his program.