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Teens Lead 4-H National Youth Science Day Experiment on Biofuels


Cornell University President David Skorton with 4-H youth.

Contributed by An Ngo and Brittany Barrett, 4-H members, Broome County

4-H teens are teaching others how biofuels offer better alternatives than using fossil fuels.

Youth at the New York State Fair had the chance to test-drive the 4-H National Youth Science Day experiment that was released to hundreds of thousands of young people across the country on October 7.  The experiment, called "Biofuel Blast," teaches youth how cellulose and sugars in plants–such as corn, switchgrass, sorghum, and algae–can be converted into fuel and how these alternative energies can be used in their own communities.

To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and careers, 4-H is working to spark an early youth interest in science education. Currently, more than five million youth across the nation take part in year-long programming in 4-H science, engineering, and technology (SET).  Through the "One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas" campaign, 4-H aims to engage one million new young people in science, engineering, and technology programs by the year 2013, and 4-H National Youth Science Day is just one part of this campaign.

“This is the future,”  said Leah Wise, a 4-H teen who worked on the 4-H National Youth Science Day exhibit. One of Leah’s friends already uses french fry oil from McDonalds as fuel for her car.

To find out more the National Youth Science Day, visit  and what 4-H is doing to grow young scientists, visit  

New York State’s 4-H program connects youth to the resources of Cornell University, helping young people get excited about school, learning, and career options.