Parents are looking for ways to foster kids' natural interest in science through fun, hands‐on activities. This develops a kid’s interest in science early on, providing motivation to pursue science in higher education. Pursuing science can help our world to address problems with the environment, obesity and disease. Related to this, local parents are very curious about what the kids do with the animals at McClellan Ranch. They would like to receive tours of the barn to see the animals, but also see what the kids are doing and learning, and how the 4‐H program affects them. However, there are no formal tours for McClellan Ranch. Visitors only catch glimpses of this if someone is able and willing to show them around. The people that show the visitors around don’t have widespread knowledge about each project and end up sharing information that is general and of the top of their head.
How did 4-H help?
The McClellan Ranch Tours project aimed to increase 4-H’s visibility by conducting community outreach by providing educational tours from May to November 2013. With the money from the civic engagement grant, members purchased six educational signs to make the tour information accessible for self-guided tours and to complement other tours that happened at the ranch. Also, one fold up sign was purchased to advertise the tours on the specific day by placing it on nearby walking trails. The project offered monthly free public tours held at the ranch at McClellan Ranch Park on the second Saturday from 10am to noon. In addition, the project offered and provided several free private tours. 4-H members that were knowledgeable about the animals and buildings gave these tours. The tour information from each of the seven animal projects present (Dairy Goats, Pack Goats, Miniature Horses, Swine, Lamb, Pygmy Goat, and Poultry) was consolidated. These members also presented information about 4-H and their own experiences with the program. At the end of the tour, tour guides encouraged people to join a local 4-H club with the help of Santa Clara County 4-H and Rolling Hills 4-H Club flyers. The tours started and ended at a 4-H McClellan Ranch Tours informational table, complete with a sign in sheet and comment box. The project and its committee members marketed the McClellan Ranch Tours with City of Cupertino naturalist Barbara Banfield.
The project was successful by using a variety of free advertising: posting information in flyers, the “Cupertino Courier” newspaper, McClellan Ranch Facebook Page, livesv.com, and the “Cupertino Scene” city newsletter. The project was also advertised through Santa Clara County 4-H with posting in the County Yahoo Group, “Timely Topics” newsletter, Rolling Hills Club newsletter, and presentations at Santa Clara County Council and Rolling Hills 4-H Club. The one fold up sign placed on the nearby trails helped advertise to people walking close by on their way to the Audubon Society’s Nature Center or Blackberry Farm.
These tours also helped spread community awareness of the 4-H program for 4-H Clubs in Santa Clara County. For example, in Rolling Hills more people became aware of McClellan Ranch and therefore expressed more interest in participating in 4-H. For the 4-H members that participated in this civic engagement project, this experience allowed them to develop their communication and time management skills. At the end of this project each committee member was able to learn, present and teach the public about the local 4-H program and all the animals at the ranch. This project also brought together several youth from different animal projects at the ranch, to strengthen the ties from completely different parts of the ranch. Through collaborating with the naturalist Barbara Banfield the project was successful in its eleven-month span and gave tours to a total of 366 people. This project helped strengthen the relationship between the 4-H program and the City of Cupertino at McClellan Ranch, which will continue to be useful in the future.