4-H Virtual Fair Kicks Off This August

Youth participants will be able to showcase their science, engineering and technology projects online.

Published on: May 26, 2010
University of Illinois Extension's 4-H program and Illinois 4-H Foundation have teamed up with 12 corporate partners to host the 1st Annual 4-H Virtual Fair on an interactive website from Aug. 1 to 18.

During the virtual fair, Illinois youth enrolled in 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Program activities will be able to choose from one or more of four exhibit classes to showcase their projects and connect with industry experts.

"This event gives 4-H youth the opportunity to develop important skills by investigating like a scientist, designing like an engineer, or communicating like a technologist," says Lisa Bouillion Diaz, a U of I Extension specialist. "Participants will be able to view exhibits of other 4-Hers from around the state, correspond with event judges, and add their own comments."

The 4-H virtual fair will be a unique learning opportunity for youth currently enrolled in a wide range of 4-H SET projects related to citizenship, service learning, consumer education, corn, dairy, personal finance, health, leadership, plants and soils, soybeans, swine, and veterinary science.

In preparation for the event, participating youth will conduct an experiment, develop a new invention, produce a video, or create a map related to their project area. Beginning August 1, they will be able to post results of their work to an interactive website for others to see and to receive feedback from industry professionals. The adults will be available to answer questions and communicate how science, engineering, or technology plays an important role in their career.

Partner organizations include Busey Wealth Management, Country Financial, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Growmark, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, LG Seeds, Paul A. Funk Foundation, Ropp Jersey Cheese, Rural King, U.S. Bank, and Walmart.

On August 18, a 4-H SET Innovation Award will be presented for each exhibit class. Award winners will receive a scholarship of "4-H dollars" that can be used to participate in any local, state, or national 4-H event.

For more information about the Illinois 4-H Virtual Fair, contact Lisa Bouillion Diaz at 217-333-0910 or lisabou@illinois.edu, or visit the virtual fair website at virtualfair.4-H.illinois.edu.