Some members do 4-H projects, then there is Anthony Warmack's version of a 4-H project. For years, he has made environmental sciences his passion.
Robert Woodruff of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance has collaborated with Anthony on water quality and nutrient loss projects in the area. "I was impressed with his knowledge and ability to understand the information we were researching."
Anthony is a recent 4-H alum from Grundy County who now works at the county Extension office. Anthony attacked natural resource education in three-phases.
First, Anthony created a magazine geared to urban and rural homeowners which featured topics on proper fertilizer use, importance of soil testing, and sustainable gardening and landscaping.
Second, Anthony has developed a mobile app which allows homeowners to get questions to environmental questions.
Third, Anthony has honed his educational training skills to reach more than 4,500 people. "Citizen Science is something I'm really passionate about," Anthony said, "and I think is a really great teaching tool for teaching the general public."
Gathering information can be costly, so Anthony designed an easy-to-make spectrometer which teachers use with their students to collect data from the field. That data is added to the collective research from people around the country and leads to practical policies and practices to preserve our natural resources.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager
Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.
"Anthony is very conservation minded and devoted to educating others on our natural resources and how to preserve them," said David Wallgast, Illinois conservation officer.
Those impressive accomplishments are just the beginning of Anthony's outreach in the world. As a homeschool student, Anthony knew that college can often be a financial challenge for homeschool youth. With the help of two other 4-H club members, Joshua Rossi and Ethan Sink, the teens formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping other homeschool graduating seniors.
"Often times, youth in public schools have access to school-specific scholarships," Anthony said, "but homeschoolers often don't have that and can sometimes struggle financially."
In this inaugural year, the 4-H teens are giving out two $1,000 scholarships and one $500 scholarship. Learn more @ http://www.homeschoolerscubed.org/scholars.html. The deadline to apply is April 15.