Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors Program received the Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the youth category given by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
There are 10 categories in the annual awards program that honors achievements in environmental preservation and protection. The Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors Program was given the state’s highest honor and recognized for the work with youth.
There are three finalists and one winner within each category. The Commission chooses the finalists while the Governor chooses the winner. Finalists and winners are recognized in Austin at the Environmental Trade Fair and Conference.
“This is great recognition for the program,” said David Smith, program coordinator for the Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors Program.
The program is for high school students who want to gain advanced knowledge and develop leadership skills related to science, technology, engineering and management of water in Texas. Students who become water ambassadors will gain exposure and recognition as youth leaders, learn about internship opportunities.
Water Ambassadors commit to a minimum of 40 hours of community service for the year. These hours are earned predominantly within the Ambassador’s local community. Along with this, credits can be earned through helping County Extension Agents and assisting local water and conservation districts.
“I have been surprised by what I have learned on water topics,” Bailey Halbert, Brazos County Water Ambassador said, “I was surprised to learn how many aquifers are in the Bryan/College Station area and which one yields the cleanest and best tasting water.”
This program is supported primarily by the water industry through sponsorships.
“The program helps train students for water conservation so it allows the industry to have a great investment for the future,” Smith said.
Along with the program, Water Ambassadors participate in a summer Texas 4-H2O Youth Leadership Academy. The academy is a multi-day tour of Texas exposing youth to a wide diversity of water resources, water uses, sensitive ecosystems, water quality concerns and apply research and technologies employed to conserve water.
Halbert was a part of four other Ambassadors who were chosen through their investment into the contribution to the program to take a trip to the Texas Capitol. She and the others heard from state representatives, a senator and other leaders about state environmental and agricultural topics.
Halbert said to any students thinking to apply, “This program teaches you are variety of valuable skills including leadership, public speaking, and the ability to effectively communicate and interact with others. Being a Youth Ambassador has improved my life by building up my confidence and strengthening by public speaking skills.”
Applications are open for high school students to apply to be a 2019-2020 Texas 4-H Water Ambassador. A link to the program brochure and applications instructions can be found here: http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/projects/water.
To stay up to date on activities visit the Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors Program’s Facebook @TX4HWaterAmbassador, Twitter @4H20_Ambassador, and Instagram @4h_water_ambassadors pages or email David Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Jessica Schaeffer
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