Alabama is a state rich in natural resources and ranked fifth in the nation in terms of biodiversity (variety of fauna & flora). This is possible because of our state’s extensive river system and five distinct physiographic land sections that include mountains in the northeastern part of the state to the white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. The darker side is that we also rank fourth nationally in terms of species at risk and second for extinction.
The 4-H Junior Naturalist Program (JNP) is a new statewide youth program that promotes awareness, understanding and respect of Alabama’s natural world. By involving youth of all ages in the JNP program, they will become well-informed citizens of Alabama in the area of natural resources, develop a positive conservation ethic, become aware of career opportunities, learn about ecology, and much more. Thus, we are excited to offer JNP as one of our educational 4-H program options for youth ages 9-18.
The 4-H Junior Naturalist Program uses a variety of hands-on activity based modules that address a plethora of natural resource concepts. These modules use a variety of 4-H Delivery Modes through which to provide Alabama youth with natural resource based learning opportunities. The following is a list of the JNP Modules that are currently available.
- Module 1: Tree Identification 101 - This module teaches the basics of tree identification using a taxonomy key that covers many of the most common native tree species.
- Module 2: Skins and Skulls - This module introduces youth to learning about mammals native to Alabama (contains the furs/hides of 10 mammals). It also contains plastic replicas of their skulls as youth learn about carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.
- Module 3: Scats and Tracks - This module is a companion module to Skins and Skulls. This module contains rubber track molds (negatives) and hard resin tracks (positives) to go with the 10 mammals listed in in the Skins and Skulls kit. The module also contains latex scat replicas from each of the mammals.
- Module 4: Using a Compass – This module teaches youth how to use a compass to help them navigate across the landscape. It includes using the compass to complete an orienteering course.
- Module 5: Birding 101 - This module focuses on bird identification and understanding bird behavior.
- Module 6: Investigating the Forest Floor – This module encourages youth to explore the forest floor as they learn about this important area within the forest ecosystem.
- Module 7: Crane Trunk – This module created by the International Crane Foundation helps educate Alabama youth, especially in the northern ¼ of the state about our sand hill crane populations and especially our small migratory population of whooping cranes that winter in the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge and surrounding area.
- Module 8: What’s a Herp? – This module teaches youth about Alabama’s reptile and amphibian diversity and the role they play in a healthy ecosystem.
Companion Alabama 4-H Natural Resource Programs:
National 4-H Curriculum Resources:
Related Alabama 4-H Natural Resources Projects:
For more information, please contact: