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4-H student poised to protect pollinators

Nicollet County 4-H’er Amanda Vogel served as the sole teen representative from Minnesota at the March 2022 National 4-H Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C. Amanda is a freshman at New Ulm High School and member of the Klossner Swan Lake 4-H Club in Nicollet County.

“Amanda’s work as a youth champion for pollinator habitats and the environment throughout 2021 made her an ideal candidate to attend the summit,” said Michael Compton, state 4-H STEM director.

At the summit Amanda joined other teen agriculture and science leaders from across the country to develop the skills and knowledge needed for the challenges facing agriculture, food security, and sustainability.

“I really liked attending the classes, especially about beekeeping! I want to start my own hive,” Vogel said.

The health of pollinators is a critical agricultural issue: About 35% of the world’s food crops require pollinators to reproduce, making them essential to the well-being of U.S. agriculture, the nation’s economy and our food security.

The USDA takes pollinators seriously and has set out a national strategy to research and fund solutions to address the challenges pollinators face. Many pollinator populations are in serious decline due to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, the changing climate and pollution.

Vogel plans to change that. Two years ago, when Nicollet County 4-H partnered with Blue Earth, Faribault and Brown counties for a pollinator project, Amanda was the first to sign up.

“I’ve really enjoyed talking to younger kids about pollinators — they make this work exciting and fun. But my goal going forward is to talk to more adults about pollinators and to meet up with teens from around the state who are also protecting pollinators,” said Vogel.

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