4-H Youth Meet And Learn At Cornell Animal Crackers Program
Published: May 23rd, 2023
By: Kelli Miller

4-H youth meet and learn at Cornell Animal Crackers program Volunteers and 4-H youth touch rabbits and learn from Cornell Cooperative Extension Volunteer Educator and American Rabbit Breeder Association (ARBA) Judge Kyle Yacobucci as he teaches the different breed strengths and weaknesses at the Cornell Animal Crackers program. (Submitted photo)

NORWICH — Volunteers and staff from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County, located at 99 N. Broad St., accompanied 4-H youths to Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to take part in the Cornell Animal Crackers program.

The youths, between the ages of 8 to 12, had on-hands learning experiences with agricultural animals.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Chenango 4-H Educator Erica Clark said, “This is an awesome opportunity for youth to learn about some of the animals in 4-H programs and fairs. This year's workshops covered dairy cows, poultry, rabbits, cavy, and sheep.”

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“Youth from Guilford, Earlville, New Berlin and Sherburne got to see and touch most of the animals and learn about proper diet, showmanship, and basic animal information. Each animal had two 25 minute hands-on workshops associated with it,” said Clark.

“Some of the highlights by youth and adults were learning about the ruminant system in cows and being able to stick their hand into the rumen,” she added.

Webster’s description of Rumen is the large first compartment of the stomach of a ruminant ( an animal that chews the cud, specifically an herbivorous, even toed, hoofed mammal that has a complex three-four chambered stomach) in which cellulose is broken down by the action of symbiotic microorganisms.

Clark further noted the 4-H youth enjoyed learning about wool, types of wool and how wool is washed, prepped and turned into yarn. They also had the opportunity to touch different rabbits and feel varying fur and body types.

4-H Educator Kristi Gorrell said, “CCE Fulton-Montgomery Volunteer Educator Kyle Yacobucci is an American Rabbit Breeder Association (ARBA) Judge and taught the youth about different breed strengths and weaknesses. The educators were definitely knowledgeable. The kids and adults enjoyed seeing so many rabbits.”

Clark added, “We also liked learning and touching the various chickens, taught by CCE Chemung 4-H Resource Educator Sasha Marie Diederich.

Diederich said, “The Animal Crackers programs is one of my favorite programs.”

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The 4-H youth, volunteers, and staff were all happy to end their day at the Cornell Dairy Bar and ordered an ice cream treat made there.

According to Cornell.edu, the annual Animal Crackers program provides New York youth with fun, hands-on, science-oriented learning experiences on Animal Science topics. This workshop is for 4-H members interested in learning more about their favorite livestock, companion or pet animal species; emphasis on different species groupings and activities varies annually.

Participants learn about different aspects of animal care, interact and exchange information with faculty, staff, students, professional producers, industry experts, and more, utilizing the unique facilities of Cornell University. Hands-on workshops are planned for each species group.

Cornell Cooperative Extension website states there are nationally over six million youth that belong to 4-H. In Chenango County, they offer local and county-side 4-H clubs, after school opportunities and connections to 4-H camps and statewide 4-H activities. 4-H is open to youth ages 5 to 19.

To learn more about Chenango County 4-H visit fb social media page Chenango4H/events

Enrollment information can be found atccechenango.org/resources/2022-2023-enrollment-form-youth