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California Youth Earn National Awards at 2002 Horticulture Convention

The Issue

California is the number one horticultural state in the U.S. and has a sizable proportion of the nation's population, yet awareness of horticulture among its youth is questionable. Very few California youth have represented California in horticultural competitions in recent years, and only one in the past 10 years. This is a problem, since such young people are the future leaders of California horticulture.

What Has ANR Done?

Several ANR entities were involved in preparing youths for and assisting them to attend the 2002 National Junior Horticulture Association convention in St. Louis, MO. The statewide 4-H program helped to inform youth in all counties about this opportunity. Michael Rethwisch, farm advisor with UCCE in Riverside County, prepared youths for various competitions, including identification of a myriad of horticultural plants. A monetary award from the The Hansen Trust in Ventura County, secured through the efforts of Sherri Klittich, program adminstrator for the Trust, helped one member attend the convention. Another was able to attend via funding received from the Santa Clara County 4-H Council.

The Payoff

Three California youths earned six national awards in horticulture in 2002.

UCCE's educational efforts were successful, as youths from Blythe, San Jose and Thousand Oaks attended the 2002 National Junior Horticulture Association convention. California's contingent earned three grand national and three additional national awards. One who earned a grand national award was presenting his first demonstration and hadn't really known the basics until UCCE personnel helped him. All youths commented about the vast amount of horticulture science thay had learned in the short time since beginning their preparations.


Supporting Unit: Riverside County

Michael Rethwisch
290 N. Broadway
Blythe CA 92225-1649
(760) 921-7884