Roadside Ditch Mapping Projects - Building a 4-H Model for Field Data Collection and Civic Engagement

Worksite Location
Primary worksite: CCE Broome, Binghamton, NY Field work will take place in Broome County towns and neighboring counties
Project Dates
June 1, 2020 - August 7, 2020
Faculty Sponsor
Susan B. Hoskins, Soil and Crop Sciences
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Rebecca Schneider, Dept. of Natural Resources
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Kelly Erin Adams, CCE Broome
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The 4-H Geospatial Science and Technology Program trains educators and youth leaders to use tools of mapmaking: GPS collected data, Geographic Information System software and remotely sensed aerial and satellite images. Using these skills, 4-H educators guide youth in undertaking community mapping projects. One of the focus areas of the Program is Roadside Ditch Mapping for watershed management.

The 4-H Geospatial team in Section of Soil and Crop Sciences is partnering with Natural Resources and Biological and Environmental Engineering Departments to develop a 4-H curriculum consisting of activities that will culminate in local roadside ditch maps. Research indicates that rural towns in New York lack access to roadside ditch condition data; information that is essential for making stewardship decisions. Through roadside ditch mapping projects, youth learn about watershed science and management, demonstrate the value of citizen science generated data to local decision makers, and become familiar with their local government officials and highway services.

Roles and Responsibilities
  • The CALS/CCE Summer Intern, trained in geospatial technologies, with an environmental science or policy background, will work with 4-H educators and youth to help develop and document all aspects of youth engagement in this community mapping initiative.
  • The intern will undertake a preliminary survey of geospatial repositories to locate geospatial data required for the projects.
  • The results of the interns work will be used to prepare engagement guidelines for educators statewide.
Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Experience and enthusiasm for working with youth is required. GIS knowledge desirable, but not required. All technical training will be provided.

Environmental science, ecology, agriculture, policy and management coursework helpful.

Benefits and Skills
  • The intern will become familiar with designing and undertaking an educational program needs assessment.
  • The intern will experience the development of extenison materials from research data, and in turn, how extension programs outcomes inform research initiatives.
  • The intern will have an opportunity to contribute to extension publications with statewide impact.
  • The intern will experience the campus-county-community connections made possible by Extension initiatives.