If you're a 4-H member, leader or show judge involved in the rabbit program, or just someone who loves rabbits, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has some news that may get you hopping. A new "4-H Rabbit Fitting and Showing Member Guide" is now available in the MSU Extension Bookstore (item number 4H1268).
Created to enhance participants' knowledge and skills in the rabbit showmanship area, the publication guides 4-H members through fitting (choosing and preparing a rabbit for show) and showing rabbits. Full-color photographs take youth through the proper steps of handling, posing and examining their rabbits for show purposes. The guide also focuses on the members themselves: their appearance and attitude, sportsmanship and leadership.
4-H'ers get involved in 4-H rabbit projects in a variety of ways. Besides raising and caring for the animals, they also take part in 4-H clubs, fairs, the State 4-H Rabbit and Cavy Expo and the State 4-H Rabbit Show. The latest statistics show that from September 2008 to August 2009 more than 4,500 youth participated in Michigan 4-H rabbit projects.
MSU Extension state 4-H rabbit project coordinator Katie VanderKolk says, "It's important to teach youth using a hands-on inquiry-based approach, and that's what this curriculum does."
A hands-on inquiry-based approach gets the learner involved, leading to a more thorough understanding of the subject. 4-H has educated youth using practical, hands-on experiences since its founding 100 years ago. The organization continues to have a positive impact on youth interest and engagement in science-related programs such as the rabbit program.
It's not just about the rabbits.
"In animal science programs, the animal – in this case the rabbit – is the tool to accomplish the tasks of preparing youth for life through building the ability to problem solve, think critically and make decisions," VanderKolk explains.
To order your copy of "4-H Rabbit Fitting and Showing Member Guide" (4H1268), visit the MSU Extension Bookstore at http://bookstore.msue.msu.edu/. The guide is priced at $5.
To find out about the Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program, visit http://4h.msue.msu.edu/. To find out about Michigan 4-H's rabbit program, contact Katie VanderKolk at 517-432-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.