Highlands County is the fourth highest citrus production county in Florida. However, increasing land development and the spread of citrus greening disease has hit Florida’s $10.7 billion citrus industry hard. As citrus acres decline, so do the visibility and knowledge of the industry. To help develop the next generation of citrus growers, the UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County 4-H Youth Citrus project focuses on exposing children ages 8-18 to citrus growing and the Florida citrus industry. Beginning in April, participants are given a citrus tree to grow themselves; throughout the year, they attend a series of workshops conducted by UF/IFAS Extension faculty about how to grow citrus trees, as well as taking field trips to local groves. The following year, each participant can enter their tree to be inspected and sold in a silent auction at the Highlands County Fair. Trees must be in show condition and be representative of a saleable tree in the nursery trade. In the 2013–2014 project, only 3 of the 17 youth participants were from families already involved with the citrus industry, meaning that the project exposed many new students and their families to the citrus industry. The Youth Citrus Project is just one of the ways UF/IFAS Extension is involved in giving youth in Highlands County the hands-on experience and confidence to become the problem solvers and industry leaders of tomorrow.
UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County photo
Nestled on the banks of Lake Francis in Highlands County, 4-H Camp Cloverleaf is a traditional camp with modern conveniences, including conference rooms, overnight accommodations, waterfront facilities and a large air-conditioned auditorium that seats 150. Its private facilities, open spaces, and good fishing allow participants to play, learn, and work in a safe and enjoyable environment. Every summer, the camp hosts a Gator Adventures camp for youth ages 8-13, a Shooting Sports and Sports Fishing Camp, and a day camp. At summer camp, the campers have an opportunity to learn teambuilding skills and participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices as well as physical activity. Camp Cloverleaf serves the community in a variety of ways and can be reserved for things like school field trips, church retreats, family reunions, business meetings, civic organizations, athletic groups, and even weddings. The goal of 4-H Camp Cloverleaf is to provide environmental education to campers by observing, exploring, and interacting with nature in an informal setting of experiential learning.
To schedule a tour or check availability, please email Steve Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (863) 465-4884.
Photo: Cabins at 4-H Camp Cloverleaf. Florida 4-H Photo