Speaker Spotlight on the Environment & Healthy Living

April 22, 2017

From agriculture sustainability to composting to wildlife protection, 4-H not only teaches youth around the world about the importance of protecting our planet, it also gives them the chance to put their learning into action, helping the environment around them.

This is because in many countries, protecting the environment is a key theme of 4-H programming.

In Canada, the Environment and Healthy Living Leadership Development Pillar is focused on nurturing environmental stewardship and healthy decision making for members and the planet.

In Caribbean countries, 4-H youth focus on the importance of recycling, reducing trash and keeping communities clean by not littering. A similar project exists in India, where youth encourage citizens to clean up trash.

During the Global 4-H Network Summit this summer, the environment will be the focus for several workshop presenters, as well as our Environment & Healthy Living keynote, Krysta Harden. To celebrate Earth Day, we sat down with a few of our presenters to learn a little more about them, why they are excited to be part of the global 4-H movement and what delegates can expect to learn from them about environmental stewardship!

Meet Some of Our Speakers!

  Clayton-RobbinsClayton Robins – Workshop Presenter; Saving the Planet With the World Under Your Feet (CR)
Clayton is co-ower of a mixed family farm in Manitoba, Canada. Clayton has an extensive research background in beef and forages impacts on climate change. Clayton puts his knowledge to use on their farm where they continue to experiment with strategies for regenerative ag practices, including soil-building. He is also the Executive Director of Manitoba 4-H.

Helena Herttuainen – Workshop Co-Presenter; Experiential education in forest pedagogy – Ecological Web Case Study (HH)

Helena is a forester, mother of three daughters, gardener, and suburbanite. She has worked at the Finnish 4-H Federation since 2001 and has an M.Sc. degree in Forestry. She has studied forest pedagogy and leadership and management. Helena is the Regional 4-H Director of Southern Finland.


Krysta Harden – Environment & Healthy Living Keynote; Think Global. Act Local. (KH)

Before joining DuPont Co. as the Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Office, Krysta was deputy secretary of the USDA, where she helped shape food & agriculture policy, including leading implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill. Throughout her career in agriculture, Ms. Harden has focused on growing the ranks of agriculture, expanding opportunity for women, young people, returning veterans and retirees.


Global 4-H: What is your favourite 4-H memory or proudest 4-H moment?

CR: When I was awarded Grand Champion steer, Oak Lake interclub show in 1985.
HH: I have been working at 4-H for over 15 years. Every day is different and I am lucky to have a job like this! My favorite memories include moments when we learn something meaningful together, and one of my highlights was being part of the Finnish forest delegation at the UN headquarters in New York in 2005.
KH: I loved winning…whether it was Grand Champion with my steer or state honors with my horse…but my favorite memory is going to camp at Rock Eagle in my home state of Georgia. After the hard work and serious learning, we just had fun. The friendships I made with kids from across the state is my favorite memory.


Global 4-H: Who was one of your mentors as a youth and what was one thing they taught you?

CR: Owen Beever, a professional agronomist, taught me critical thinking and to assess every situation from a ‘three steps back’ and/or someone else’s perspective.
KH: Growing up in Mitchell County, Georgia, my county agent was Clifford Lee. He was a tough, grumpy type who had few words but his look said volumes. I was really a bit scared of him at first and then realized he was actually a very caring and giving person. He spent many hours with me and my sister. We were two of very few girls who showed steers when we were young. And, he did not have different standards or expectations for us. He made sure we were always treated fairly and got the support and help we needed from his assistants and other staff. We were never ignored or forgotten just because we were girls. He was one of the first true mentors and role models I had outside of my family. His lessons of fairness, justice, and commitment to doing what is right still guide my relationships as a professional.


Global 4-H: Why are you excited to be part of the global 4-H movement?

CR: To be part of something that changes the lives of youth for the better every single day is a very rewarding calling.
HH: It is interesting to see how motivated people make things happen for better tomorrow and be part of all that.
KH: One of the most important strengths of 4-H is its diverse membership. I am excited to be a part of an organization that values differences and makes a place for all.


Global 4-H: What’s one takeaway can club delegates expect from your presentation?

CR: The importance of soil in applying critical thinking to impacts of climate change.
HH: How connected we all are to each other – humans, animals and plants.
KH: I hope the delegates will learn that just like them, I had tests and temptations, trials and challenges but I worked through them and beyond them with the help of the people I met through 4-H and the lessons I learned by being involved in an organization that offers opportunity to grow, learn and stretch myself.


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