Katie Stenroos, Evan Henthorne, and Casie Bass have been awarded both the Wisconsin Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (WAE4-HYDP) Collaboration/Partnership Award and the Excellence in Animal Science Programming Award for the Foaling Around with Wisconsin 4-H Program. Stenroos and Henthorne serve as Wisconsin 4-H program educators for Douglas and Adams counties, respectively, and Bass is an associate professor within the Animal and Food Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Stenroos and Henthorne are both UW-River Falls alumni, where they earned animal science degrees focusing on equine science and agriculture education. Foaling Around with Wisconsin 4-H, which occurred over 12 weeks during spring 2021, was the first state-wide and semester-long program to invite all Wisconsin 4-H youth participants.
Despite face-to-face restrictions due to COVID-19, Stenroos, Henthorne and Bass wanted to provide a learning opportunity for Wisconsin 4-H youth. Foaling around with Wisconsin 4-H, which was facilitated by college students in Bass’ Equine Reproductive Techniques course, offered 4-H participants the chance to follow Kitty, a UWRF-owned broodmare, through her gestation and foaling. Every other week over the spring semester, 4-H participants watched a short, equine-related informative video that was prepared by Bass’ students. The following Friday, they were able to connect live with Bass and her college students at the UWRF Campus Farm.
The extension project was mutually beneficial as it created opportunities for 4-H youth to chat with college students while simultaneously giving those college students the unique teaching experience created in this class-led extension project. Over the semester, the college students discussed topics and answered questions related to equine nutrition and reproduction, basic equine management, and the physical and behavioral changes Kitty experienced throughout her gestation. Toward the end of the semester, participants were able to watch a video of Kitty delivering her foal, a healthy colt. Additionally, 4-H students completed educational worksheets covering the information they were learning over the semester. The leading 4-H participant earned the right to name Kitty’s foal and had the opportunity to meet Stenroos, Henthorne and Bass, some of the college students, and of course, Kitty and her foal, named Klover, during the 2021 summer.