Project Period

June 15, 2009-June 14, 2014

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number No.: 11311433

Submission Date



Maine 4-H Youth Development programs have produced nationally-recognized environmental education and healthy lifestyle curricula that are research-based and have reached thousands of participants. Our new statewide initiative in Sustainable Living Education for youth and adults provides an excellent context for the CYFAR Maine Sustainable Communities Project (MSCP), Sustainable Living Teen Volunteers (SLTV). The SLTV program will be conducted at two of our current 4-H Camp and Learning Centers in collaboration with local schools. After completing their training, teens will teach sustainable living concepts and practices to youth in middle schools and 4-H clubs. The SLTVs will learn valuable life skills and participate in service learning in their communities. Richard Louv (2005) has documented some disturbing trends in current society: children ages six to eighteen are spending 30 hours or more per week using electronic media; 30% of children and teens are dangerously overweight or obese; nearly eight million children in the US have been diagnosed with learning disabilities and mental disorders; a 600 percent increase in prescriptions of psychotropic drugs in the last decade; among others. These trends have been linked to the decline in physical, imaginative, unstructured, outdoor play that was an everyday occurrence just a generation ago. In addition, evidence suggests that many of our youth do not value the environment, conservation, living sustainably, or outdoor experiences. Our Sustainable Living Teen Volunteer model will play a significant role in changing these attitudes and making a difference in the lives of Maine youth and their communities. It is expected that, over the course of the five years of this program, high school and middle school-aged youth will gain knowledge and learn skills related to living more sustainable lifestyles, and will share the knowledge and skills with other students, with their families, and with community members. It is expected that practices and behaviors that contribute to living a more sustainable lifestyle will be adopted by participants and those they teach, leading to improved quality of life and quality of the environment.

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