SARASOTA COUNTY – Two Sarasota County youths earned high marks for their work in a pair of recent Florida 4-H contests focused on marine life.
Benjamin Adams grabbed the “People’s Choice” award for the favorite image from more than 140 entries in the 4-H Marine and Aquatic Photography Contest, held in Kissimmee in November. Brooke Welch earned a third-place award in the senior individuals competition at the 4-H State Marine Ecology Event, held in conjunction with the photo contest and an underwater robotics challenge.
Adams and Welch are among more than 500 youth members of the 4-H program at UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County.
The Marine Ecology Event drew 115 competitors from 17 Florida counties, according to organizers. Held annually, the educational competition aims to teach 4-H youth age 8-18 about Florida’s saltwater ecosystems.
“It is very important for children to learn about marine life and coastal habitats so they can appreciate and care for our oceans,” said Armando Ubeda, Sea Grant agent for Sarasota County. “The 4-H State Marine Ecology Event is a fun and well-organized event, designed to increase ocean literacy among youth.”
At the 4-H marine contests, youths compete for trophies and ribbons, with top finishers at the Marine Ecology Event earning “small scholarships” for additional marine education efforts. Parents say contestants also learn teamwork, critical thinking, communication techniques and more.
Details for the 2017 Marine Ecology Event were not yet available as of this release. To prepare for that contest, area youth will participate in a series of mock events designed and hosted by the Sarasota County 4-H and Sea Grant programs. For more details, contact 4H@scgov.net or (941) 861-9900.