TechGYRLS Sustainable Agriculture Overnight Camp

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2018: $2,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: YWCA Kalamazoo
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Manager:
Dr. Grace Lubwama
YWCA Kalamazoo


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures



    Below you will find a summary of our project: 

    1) Teaching Sustainable Agriculture 

    As part of the programming, participants learned how local farmers use technology such as drones to aid them in monitoring the landscape and how they use mapping to responsibly utilize resources, save money, and increase profits. Participants were given a demonstration of an Unmanned-Aerial Vehicle (UAV) by a field tech from the KBS Long-term Ecological Research program and were then given the opportunity to see the drone up close and ask specific questions regarding how the technology assists farmers. Participants were also able to build their own paper drones from the National 4-H Youth Science Day 2016 drone kits. Closing conversation centered around future career aspirations and the types of careers that are available in sustainability and agriculture.

    2) Educational Approach and Learning Outcomes

    Staff utilized a project-based educational approach focused on giving participants hands-on learning experiences such as drone building, building robots from ‘junk’ drawer items, and interacting with the animals in the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. By providing youth with these personalized and self-led experiences, they increase their interest in STEM, learn to value their own ideas, and are able to productively and confidently engage in STEM activities.

    3) Conclusions

    Through project-based learning, TechGYRLs participants learned about and engaged in sustainable farming practices; these experiences challenged the participants to think in different ways which led to an increased desire to learn more.


    4) Outcomes

    As a result of this educational program, participants gained an interest in drones and robotics which prompted the TechGYRLs program to explore the FIRST Robotics Tech Challenge. This will function as an after-school program where participants will be able to build, program, and then showcase their robot at local competitions. Programming will begin winter/spring of 2019 and will culminate at the end of May 2019


    Project objectives:

    YWCA Kalamazoo TechGYRLS Sustainable Agriculture Overnight Camp seeks to demonstrate relevance of sustainable agriculture in the lives of youth being served. The camp will create positive experiences related to sustainable agriculture, in particular the use of technology, careers in science and agriculture and establish a connection between the farm and food on the table. With these skills, youth can support themselves, friends, family, and community members in addressing barriers they may be experiencing.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.