Excitement is building among members of the Highland 4-H Club, who are getting their projects ready for Achievement Day this Saturday.
The club’s 26 members will show off the projects they have been working on over the past few months on July 24 at the Interlakes Rodeo Grounds.
Project manager Courtney White said Tuesday they are prepared to postpone or cancel the event if needed, due to the wildfires, but for now, it is slated for 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As a result of the fires, the public will be not be allowed to attend.
“The kids have been putting a lot of hard work into their projects and everything has been going pretty good,” White said.
Landen Berube, 12, can’t wait to see how much money he will get for his pig Loin after Achievement Day. On top of getting to hang out with his friends and learn how to look after animals, he said he loves earning money for all the hard work he does with the club.
“Last year I made just over $1,700. I was hoping for at least $1,000 so I was very happy,” Landen said, adding that he was able to buy an airsoft gun. Landen learned that it’s important when he first gets piglets to become their friend and get them used to him being around them. He does this by sitting “criss-cross apple sauce” in their pen with treats and waits until they get close to pet them.
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He added it’s a lot of work keeping them healthy, feeding them regularly, cleaning their pen and caring for their every need. Landen doesn’t like feeding his pigs meat and prefers to keep them on a lean diet of vegetables.
“Last year I had a girl so it’s pretty new to be raising a boy,” Landen said. “Loin gains weight faster so I have to feed him less and give him more runs.”
In the Sankey household, Max, 12, and his sister Daizey, 14, are getting their steers ready to be shown and sold. They’ve both been members of the club since it was formed and are interested in learning how to raise different animals. Max said the most challenging aspect has been halter training his steer Moonshine.
“We have to train them to walk with the halter. We have a training halter that’s just like a real halter but it has a rope that slides so it doesn’t hurt them,” Max said. “When we finally go up to the show they’re already used to it they’ll follow you.”
Daizey said she’s especially keen on learning how best to feed and care for the various animals she raises. She’d like to pursue a career as a veterinarian so the club’s activities are a great trial run. This year she’s raising a steer named Wrangler and a sheep named Jasper for the club.
“There have been ups and downs but you learn quite a bit from them,” Daizey said.
Added Max, “I feel like 4H is important because you get all the skills for when you’re older to know how to raise all these animals.”
Karli-Rae Roussel, 16, had to get creative to save her aquaculture project from the impacts of last month’s heat dome. An eight-year veteran of 4-H, Karli-Rae has tackled every project with the club she can including raising 85 rainbow trout this year.
Since May she’s kept them in a 100-gallon stock tank in her backyard, carefully monitoring the PH levels and temperature of the water.
When the heatwave hit, she had to keep them cool and prevent them from cooking, like what happened to some fish in Bridge Creek.
“It was definitely a hard couple of days trying to keep water quality all regulated,” she said. “The heat definitely threw a curveball at that. I used water chillers, sand and ice (to keep them cool.)”
She still needs to figure out how she will represent her project at Achievement Day but is thinking of bringing one or two fish in a smaller tank to show.
Karli-Rae will also feature her photography projects which is the whole reason she got into 4-H. She said she enjoys taking portraits and landscapes that show off the personality of her subjects.
“Everything I know about photography I’ve learned through 4-H,” she said. “This year I’m actually responsible for teaching the younger photography members everything I’ve learned to give them the opportunity I had.”