UMaine Extension 4-H, UMaine Aquaculture Research Staff Win National Award

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ORONO – Carla Scocchi, a 4-H youth development professional from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, is the recipient of the 2021 Denise Miller National 4-H Innovator Award presented by the National Association of 4-H Professionals. 4-H youth development of the extension. The award “recognizes an individual or team who exemplifies innovation, achievement and commitment in the design and delivery of a unique 4-H program” according to the NAE4-HYDP website.

Carla Scocchi, UMaine Extension 4-H Youth Development Professional. Courtesy of University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Scocchi, along with award team members Melissa Malmstedt, Education and Outreach Coordinator at the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, and Scarlett Tudor, Education and Outreach Coordinator of outreach at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute, have developed and delivered a home-based aquaponics program to reach young people interested in fish, home aquariums or modern farming technologies that have been isolated at home during the pandemic.

Melissa Malmstedt, Education and Outreach Coordinator, University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research. Courtesy of University of Maine Cooperative Extension

A recent article in UMaine Today magazine, “Hooked on Aquaponics”, describes the journey of a young student who loves fish, aquaponics and learning. “This project exemplifies a successful virtual program that supported a hands-on, on-the-ground component. What defines the 4-H aquaponics project as innovative is not only that the experience could be replicated by other 4-H programs, but that it serves as a model for how 4-H can preserve its learning-by-doing approach in the post-pandemic world, Scocchi said.

Tudor added, “Many of the skills children learn in this program are highly transferable to careers inside and outside of aquaculture, all of which are extremely important to our workforce in Maine. .”

More information can be found on the UMaine Extension 4-H aquaponics project website. More information about the 4-H program is available on the UMaine Extension 4-H website, or by contacting 207-581-3877 or [email protected]

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