Special interest programs are designed for a specific learning experience of six hour or more that involves direct teaching by Extension staff or trained volunteers. These programs are not part of the school curriculum and are not restricted to members of 4-H clubs.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Hazardous Occupations Order for Agriculture (HOOA) dictates that youth 14 and 15 years of age who wish to work as a hired employee for someone other than a parent or legal guardian, and operate a farm tractor that is 20hp or greater, must successfully pass a tractor safety training program. Additionally, to operate any powered equipment or machinery attached to the tractor, the youth must successfully pass a machinery safety training program. Through the National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program (NSTMOP), these two required training programs have been combined into one curriculum.
The training involves 24 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction, followed by a written test and a tractor driving test. The curriculum is also appropriate for all youth whom are age 12 or older and operate a tractor and equipment on family farms. However, to be able to take the driving test, youth must be 14 years old by the day of the test. Youth ages 12 and 13 can participate in the educational portion of the program, but cannot practice driving tractors or receive a certificate.
In addition to tractor & implement safety, other discussion will include:
Agriculture Safety is offered in partnership Herkimer County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The course is traditionally held during Mid-Winter Break in February.
Youth from The House of Good Shepherd in Utica, NY come on a rotating bases to the Parker F. Scripture Botanical Gardens located at Cornell Cooperative Extension. From May to the end of September, youth work and learn with the Master Gardeners Volunteers. The Trellis Garden has accessible raised wooden garden beds that the youth use to grow their vegetables and flowers. They learn about healthy snacks from the garden too. The kids learn how to deadhead, water, identify weed plants, and pull weeds. Youth are also learning about nature; taking time to go on a nature trail to experience the woods and view the butterflies in the butterfly house.
During the fall and winter months, Master Gardener Volunteers will meet with the youth at the House of Good Shepherd once a month to do garden/nature related activities.
Intergenerational Gardening gives youth the opportunity to develop healthy living skills while gardening with Master Gardeners Volunteers and experiencing nature.
The goal of Veterinary & Animal Science Exploration is to capture youth’s interest in their pets and other animals and utilize it to expand their knowledge of the animal sciences, while at the same time building life-long skills, such as communication, team work, responsibility, and decision making.
Veterinarian and Animal Science Exploration (VASE) is offered in partnership with Herkimer County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The program is traditionally held during Spring Break in April.
Last updated February 23, 2023