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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Influence of Others

I wish I could have blogged about this last night but had some computer issues.  I will post this and then a separate post from today's events.

Yesterday we did not have any competitions but we did enjoy a 4H day around Lubbock.  We were off to a late start getting everyone together, but made a trip to the Buddy Holly Center in the afternoon.  Why would I talk about Buffy Holly on a 4H blog?  Well, as I watched a short video about him and walked around his museum, I realized the importance of influencing others in our lives.  This is much like what we hope to accomplish in 4H.  As adults and youth come together, we inspire each other to "make the best better."  Buddy Holly influenced so many artists in his short time (18 months) as a famed musician.  We are given a short amount of time to influence the youth in 4H as well.  We never know what will help inspire greatness in these youth or how long we will have them in our care.

I was then given the opportunity to go to a Robotics training.  My boys were green with envy (instead of 4H pride) when they found out I got to help build a robot!  I enjoyed watching the youth presentations about the inventions contest and the team challenge as well.  Then we learned about the new 4H robotics project that will begin...well...NOW!!!  The first contest will take place in less than two months in Midland.  I am not sure if we will be able to make this happen, but the boys (and others) sure hope we can try.

I also was able to meet up with one of my good friends from my college days at the robotics workshop.  It was nice to see her and talk about our plans for the week.  I watched more than made the robot with one of her older 4Hers.  It was a lot of fun to see the minds of the youth working to correct the errors in their programming.  I can already see that this creative contest will make for an interesting project.

I met up with the rest of the crew in time to go to Prairie Dog Town.'s just what it sounds like...we went to visit a colony of black-tailed prairie dogs found in a city park in Lubbock.  Again, I see the influence of these little creatures for our environment.  K.N. Clapp must have realized their significance almost 100 years ago.  He saw that the extermination of the prairie dogs would cause a great disturbance in the environment and set up this park with two pairs and these pairs have now grown into a colony of hundreds!  Why are these little creatures considered a keystone species?  Because they are the diet of many other species in this region.  I am not sure I would appreciate being placed on the list of keystone species for this reason, but I guess someone needs to be the prey in every habitat.

I must say it was fascinating to see these animals in action.  They have a system of warning the colony of danger with different pitches.  We were able to get up close and personal with them as they had their dinner and lounged for a evening rest.  Oh, also wanted to say that this was a great learning experience for the 4Hers heading to our WHEP contest this weekend.  This species will possibly be one of the focal species for  our contest!

We also learned a little about the burrowing owl.  I thought it was interesting that these two species can be neighbors BUT they don't like each other.  Talk about an influence on the habitat!  It sounds a lot like any neighborhood...there is always that neighbor that is hard to get along with in life.  In this case, the owl must love to grab a few of those nice morsels for dinner or should I say 'morning' snack (since they are nocturnal!).  And, to add to our bird list, we spotted some black-throated sparrows which are also on our contest list!

We split up at this point in the evening...we herded our guys into the hotel room for a good night's rest.  The senior Food Challenge team had a late night practice.  So, all in all a full day and preparing for the full day of contests tomorrow.

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