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Skagit County 4-H Clubs Fill Sandbags to Battle King Tides


In late December, Skagit County was especially hard hit by flooding along coastal areas. “KingTides” were responsible for many residents finding their homes and property underwater, and more of these high tides are expected this month.

Skagit County Department of Public Works delivered a dump-truck load of sand and burlap bags for Samish Island Residents, at the request of a long-time resident.

On December 31st, coming to the aid of Samish Island residents, young people from the Burlington chapter of “Her-Ang-Dus” 4-H Club volunteered to fill sandbags. 

Pictured here are the “Her-Ang-Dus” 4-H participants:

  • Stephanie Knutzen, “Her-Ang-Dus” 4-H Chapter Leader, and 4-H parent with her children Trygve and Hayden.
  • Bill and Kali Howard, 4-H parents, with their children Jacob and James.
  • Claire Collins, 4-H parent, with her children Jack and Luke.
  • Andrea Ratfield, 4-H parent, with her children Esther, Jillian, Mae, and Henry.
  • Jeremiah Hastings, 4-H volunteer.

Also filling sandbags on Samish Island during the King Tides were members  of the Burlington Edison Roadrunners 4-H Club.

Club members pictured in this photo are Cassidy Pruiett, Kiersten Dotzauer, Danica McKee, Sydney Quatsoe, Casey Quatsoe, and Vivian Armas. Adults pictured are club leader Sharrie Nelson, Stacie Quatsoe and Julie McKee.

Many thanks go to these 4-H volunteers, along with Sue Ratfield and other neighbors who donated their time and efforts.

This project exemplifies the spirit of neighbors-helping-neighbors, and what the 4-H program stands for: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

Introducing Q and A Sessions for the Washington 4-H Horse Program!


Have questions about the Washington 4-H horse program? We are planning to have a monthly Q and A for leaders, parents, members, and staff on the third Tuesday of each month via Zoom from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Zooms will start in February and run at least through June.

The first one will be Thursday, February 16th. No need to register…just come and join the zoom by 6:30 pm.

There will be no specific topics for this first zoom but will be around the theme/parameters of horses and youth development. It will be more than “what are the rules.” However, there will be time set aside for input on future topics for the subsequent Zooms. The Zoom meeting ID is 452-082-9765 with no passcode. You must have a zoom account to participate.

The meeting will be facilitated by Jennifer Leach, WSU 4-H Equine Specialist. If you need further clarification of the meeting, feel free to contact Jennifer at

Zoom Presentation – Poultry Housing For Your Backyard Flock on February 5th!

Are you thinking about getting chicks? What sort of brooder should you have before you bring them home? Where will they live as they get older? Let’s discuss some safe, inexpensive, and healthy designs for your poultry housing. This presentation is for 4-H members, volunteers, families, and anyone from the public who has an interest in poultry and how to set up age-appropriate housing.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Feb 5, 2023, 2:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada), You may join the meeting up to 10 min. early.

Register in advance for this meeting at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information (link) about joining the meeting.

Pam Watson, M.Ed.,
WSU Lewis County Extension
4-H Youth Development Agent, WSU Faculty

From National 4-H Council….


Recording of WA State-wide 4-H Virtual Photo Club First Meeting of January 15th Now Available!

Our first Statewide 4-H Virtual Photography Club meeting was held on January 15th. Thank you to those who joined us and participated! We recorded that meeting because the educational portion from the first meeting is the shooting challenge assignment for the next meeting. Please find the recording at:

Our second meeting will be on February 12th at 2:00 PM and we will send the pre-registration link for that meeting out soon!  We will also request that any submissions for our critique at the second meeting be e-mailed in as attachments a few days prior to the meeting. Each person may send up to three photos, but we may not get through them all.

For now, keep working on the challenge assignment!

Pam Watson, M.Ed.,
WSU Lewis County Extension
4-H Youth Development Agent, WSU Faculty

State 4-H Ambassadors Present the 4-H Youth of the
Month for January!


The Washington State 4-H Ambassadors recognize the 4-H Youth of the Month honoree for January, Lily Grabenkort of Clark County! The Ambassadors are proud to highlight 4-H youth monthly throughout the year!

If you have any questions about the State Ambassadors, or are interested in joining, please email We hope to hear from you!

4-H Scholarship Applications Now Live on 4-H Online! 

The application for 4-H Scholarships are now available in 4-H Online. The application is open to all active 4-H youth in the 12th grade who have been in 4-H for at least two years. Youth must be attending an accredited two or four-year college or university in the fall of 2023.

Applications must be submitted by March 15th, no later than 9:59 PM, via 4-H Online. Emailed applications will not be accepted. No exceptions are made to this policy. Applications MUST BE COMPLETE, with submission of all five pieces included, in order be considered. Each applicant will be considered for all Washington State 4-H Scholarships. These scholarships may be used at any accredited two or four-year college or university.

For more information on the application process, including requirements, tips and individual scholarship information, go to

Four Big News Items for Washington State 4-H Equine!


The New Year brings big news for the 4-H Equine Program!Save the Date! State Horse Bowl and State Hippology May 6-7, 2023

The 2023 WA State 4-H Horse Bowl Contest and WA State 4-H Hippology Contest will be held over the first weekend in May at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake. Horse Bowl will be on Saturday, May 6 and Hippology will be on Sunday, May 7. All the details are in the registration packets, available below.

2023 Horse Bowl Registration Packet

2023 Hippology Contest Registration Packet

We hope 4-H members will try both!!

Lodging Information for teams needing overnight accommodations:

– Camping is available at the Grant County Fairground, including RV spaces. Those interested in this option may make arrangements directly with the fairgrounds here:

– For hotel accommodations, we recommend national name hotels with rooms that open to hallways rather than the outdoors.

As with all State 4-H Equine Contests, each county may select their teams in any manner they choose (e.g. County Contests, Tests, Tryouts, Attendance) and those teams are approved by the County 4-H Educator.  Other members are welcome to attend to observe the Contest but only designated County Teams may participate.

The list of sources that state contest questions and materials will be drawn from has been condensed to those are that free and/or easily accessible in hopes that addressing accessibility challenges will increase participation in state equine knowledge contests. These sources are free downloads from our WA State 4-H website:

And one additional source, available for purchase or digital rental:

  • Equine Science by Jean T. Griffiths

We are hosting an Introduction to Horse Bowl and Hippology on January 23rd at 6:30 pm via Zoom for all 4-H members and adults who want to learn about the contests. Come have your questions answered and maybe start contests in your county!! Register to join us here:

Having a county hippology program is not a requirement of registration for the state hippology contest. Recognizing that a county may have only one or two interested, eligible members, the following provision is provided:

  • A county may combine with another county (or multiple counties) to form a team. If unable to coordinate with another county, you may register your county’s interested members as individuals. The contest coordinator will form catch teams, if possible, and notify you. If impossible to form a catch team, individuals may compete independently in all phases except team problem solving. All contestants are eligible for overall individual awards.
  • To provide additional support, a Prepare for State Hippology Zoom is scheduled for Sunday, March 26, 2 to 3:30 pm. All 4-H members are welcome to join, from those who are definitely planning to compete to those who aren’t quite sure yet. Come learn about the competition so you can feel prepared to do your best! Supporting adults are very welcome! Register in advance for this meeting:

SAVE THESE DATES From the 4-H Dairy Program!!

Springtime Youth Calf Sale March 18, 2023, Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe

WA State 4H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest March 18, 2023, Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe

Evergreen Junior Dairy Show, April 28 & 29, Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe

WDFW Issues Statement On Avian Influenza Outbreak Among Waterfowl Around Skagit Bay


Media contact:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists recently responded to reports of sick or dead waterfowl in western Skagit County on and around Skagit Bay, as well as in northwestern Snohomish County and on Camano Island and Port Susan in Island County.

WDFW has retrieved more than 700 deceased birds of several species—primarily juvenile snow geese—from this area. Samples have been taken from these birds for testing for avian influenza (also known as bird flu), with H5N1 strain Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) suspected.

WDFW continues to ask members of the public who find sick or dead birds to report them immediately using this online form and not touch them. As resources are available, biologists may respond to remove bird carcasses and, if in an area or species where avian influenza has not been confirmed, test for the virus. Due to the magnitude of this outbreak, WDFW staff will not be able to respond to all reported cases.

Infected birds may appear lethargic, unable to fly, and exhibit wheezing, vomiting, or have diarrhea or secretions from their mouth or nostrils. More detailed information about avian influenza is available on this WDFW webpage and in this blog post.

Avoid all contact with sick and dead birds. DO NOT attempt to move sick birds to a veterinarian or rehabilitation center, or to your home, as this can spread the disease. If a dead bird must be moved, it is best to wear disposable gloves while handling it and to double bag and dispose of the carcass in the garbage where pets and scavengers can’t reach it.

Reports of suspected avian influenza in domestic flocks should be sent to the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Call 1-800-606-3056 or visit their webpage for more information about how to protect poultry and other domestic birds.

From fall through spring, western Skagit County, Island County, and northwestern Snohomish County are major feeding and roosting areas for snow geese and other migratory waterfowl. The recent avian influenza hotspot around Skagit Bay follows a similar outbreak in November around Wiser Lake in Whatcom County. More than 450 dead birds have been removed from that area.

HPAI is very contagious among birds but the risk to people is low. This current strain of bird flu does not appear to easily infect humans. As a precautionary measure, people with known extended contact with infected birds should contact their local health department if they develop flu-like symptoms.

For hunters, waterfowl and other birds that appear healthy or are actively flying likely present minimal risk but should be cooked thoroughly before consumption. Dead geese and ducks found in western Skagit and Whatcom counties and northwestern Snohomish County are likely the result of avian influenza. Goose hunting has been closed in this area (Goose Management Area 1) since Nov. 27 and will reopen Dec. 10 through Jan. 29.

Dogs and other animals can become sick with avian influenza, and care should be taken to avoid contact between pets and either sick birds or carcasses of diseased birds. Wherever possible, maintain control of and discourage your dog from touching birds that were not shot immediately beforehand.

To reduce the risk of disease transmission, hunters are asked to not clean and dispose of bird carcasses in the field, but to do so at home and to double bag and dispose of bird carcasses in the garbage.

Additional safety tips include:

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning harvested birds or cleaning bird feeders.
  • Do not dispose of processed carcasses in the field where they could be eaten by raptors. Bag them and place in the garbage, bury, or incinerate them.
  • Take special precautions to ensure that all equipment (boots, clothes, vehicles, firearms) are cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Do not harvest or handle wild birds that are obviously sick or found dead.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.
  • Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol wipes immediately after handling game or cleaning bird feeders.
  • Wash tools and work surfaces used to clean game birds with soap and water, then disinfect with a 10 percent solution of chlorine bleach.
  • Separate raw meat, and anything it touches, from cooked or ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination.
  • Cook game birds thoroughly. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites.

For additional information on avian influenza please visit:

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email ( For more information, see

Submitted by:

Pam Watson, M.Ed., WSU Lewis County Extension
4-H Youth Development Agent, WSU Faculty

Dan McCarty, LIVESTOCK SPECIALIST, 4-H and Regional Small Farms
WSU Extension – Clallam County

Remember to Sign Up for 4-H Equine Science and Horsemanship Series Thursdays!!


We are excited to launch the 2022-2023 WA State 4-H Equine Science and Horsemanship Series!! Hosted virtually on the 4th Thursday of the month, December 2022 – December 2023 (*5th Thursday in November 2023, due to Thanksgiving) from 6:30 – 7:30 pm.

All are invited to attend to learn more about horses! Sessions will incorporate hands-on opportunities and fun learning games! Use this link to sign up and receive the zoom link:

Registered participants will be emailed a suggested supply list prior to each session for the hands-on component.

NOTE: Instructors are needed for some of our upcoming sessions. If you have interest in teaching, please contact | 425-520-3908.

We are interested in hearing from staff, equine professionals, and alumni of the horse program that would like to share their area of expertise with an audience of youth.

Interested parties should be prepared to share an overview of their topic and how they envision incorporating a hands-on component in a virtual format. More details about the review process are available upon request.

Thank you!

Save the Dates! Youth Livestock Field Days  Coming Next Spring!


It may be cold and dark right now, but Spring is just around the corner! Save the dates for Youth Livestock Field Days, presented jointly by Washington State Univrrsity Extension and University of Idaho Extension, scheduled in March 2023.

More details and a registration link coming soon!

Save the Date! – 2023 Washington State Junior Horse Show 

The Washington State Junior Horse Show will be held June 22-25, 2023.  The WSJHS Clinic will be held on June 22.  The WSJHS 4-H Horse Show is June 23, 24, & 25.  There is also an Open WSJHS Show on June 24 & 25.

More information to follow!

Save the Date! 2023 Prairie Hatchers Annual Poultry Show!

 Save the Date, March 25, 2023, for the Prairie Hatchers 4-H Club’s 23rd Annual YOUTH SHOW, taking place at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield, Washington. Things to look forward to include Showmanship, confirmation/type, BIG Raffle, and Show quality poultry/chick auction!

Donations are always appreciated. If you would like to donate show quality birds or any raffle items please e-mail us! Your donations help us run next year’s show. Help us keep it going!

If you would like more information or get on the list to receive our premium book in January please e-mail:

Save the Date! – 2023 4-H Livestock Judging Contest

Paul Kuber

Make plans to attend the 2023 Washington 4-H State Livestock Judging Contest, scheduled for Saturday,  June 24, 2023 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Ardell Pavilion on the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Washington.

More details coming soon!


Paul S. Kuber, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
State 4-H Agri-Science Specialist
Northeast Region Livestock and Forage Specialist
Washington State University Extension
222 N. Havana St. Spokane, WA 99202
W: 509-477-2185 C: 614-302-1600

Vaccination Mandate Lifted For All 4-H Volunteers


In coordination with Washington State University, CAHNRS Extension and the State of Washington, Washington State 4-H will no longer require 4-H volunteers to receive either a COVID-19 vaccination or an approved Religious or Medical Exemption as of October 31, 2022.

The memorandum from WSU Extension Associate Dean and Director   Vicki McCracken to all Extension faculty, staff and volunteers can be viewed HERE.

What does this mean for WSU 4-H Extension volunteers (Leaders)?

  • Volunteers who chose to take a leave of absence during the 2021-22 4-H Year may return to active status in 2023.
  • New volunteers who apply to become WSU Extension 4-H Volunteers during the 2022-23 4-H year are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Washington 4-H sincerely thanks the volunteers who have helped navigate the program through uncharted territory over the past couple of years and look forward to an exciting new 4-H year, full of increased opportunities for youths and volunteers.

You can view Governor Inslee’s announcement here:

View Center for Disease Control recommendations here:

View Washington State Department of Health recommendation here:

Go Cougs!

Mark Heitstuman
WSU Interim State 4-H Program Director

Youth Livestock and Poultry Biosecurity Learning Modules Updated


Pam Watson, M.Ed., WSU Lewis County Extension
4-H Youth Development Agent, WSU Faculty

Livestock and poultry are susceptible to infectious diseases and many of these diseases are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to people. A few more well-known zoonotic diseases include ringworm, rabies, and soremouth. The most effective strategy for protecting farm animal health is to prevent or reduce the chances of introducing a disease into a herd or flock.

An online learning experience about livestock biosecurity was developed during a five-year livestock biosecurity grant project, directed by Animal and Veterinary Sciences Research Associate Professor Julie Smith. The result was the Healthy Farms Healthy Agriculture (HFHA) Biosecurity Learning Module Series. The learning modules are appropriate for students in grades 6 to 12, FFA and 4-H participants, college students studying animal science, and other agriculturally related youth groups.

The link for the learning modules, teaching guide, certificates of completion and more is

The goal of the series is to create a new generation of biosecurity advocates. The first four modules help youth in agriculture discover biosecurity, the preventative measures that protect farm animals from the spread of infectious diseases. The last two prepare youth to communicate what they have learned with others.

Topics for the six modules—plus a hands-on activity—include:

  1. What is animal biosecurity – an introduction to biosecurity concepts.
  2. Routes of infection and means of disease transmission.
  3. Finding sources of disease transmission – students become biosecurity inspectors.
  4. Farm biosecurity management plan – students learn how to develop a biosecurity plan.
  5. Public speaking for biosecurity advocates I – students create a persuasive public presentation.
  6. Public speaking for biosecurity advocates II – students learn how to deliver a persuasive speech.
  7. A “SCRUB Kit” was also developed during the project, with hands on activities that complement the learning modules.

Updated learning modules were released in 2022, incorporating interactive elements and accessibility improvements.

Discovery learning is key to the design of the learning modules’ interactive curriculum. Students are presented with questions or tasks to complete to which they might not know the answers. They are also given supplemental information that introduces biosecurity concepts and helps the students make logical decisions. A printable guide is available for instructors with additional ideas and activities, career suggestions, and sets of homework and quiz bank questions.

There are three paths available for interacting with the biosecurity learning modules:

  1. A self-guided experience for students where the modules are hosted at Wisc-Online through Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges system.
  2. Learn as part of a course – this option is for learners who are assigned one or more modules to complete on their own as a course requirement.
  3. Learn with a leader – club and group leaders guiding learners through any of the modules.

Updated January 24, 2023