COLUMBUS — Rover Pipeline LLC has announced a new partnership with the Ohio 4-H Foundation that includes a $40,000 donation to fund its drone design challenge which will focus on habitat restoration, native pollinators and agricultural land stewardship practices utilizing drone technology.
Design challenge learning gives Ohio 4-H members the opportunity for hands-on learning about solutions to science and engineering challenges. Because design challenge experiences are based on current technologies and real-world problems, they help participants learn how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be utilized in solving those problems.
The drone challenge will launch in the summer of 2019 at 4-H Camp Palmer in Fulton County, Ohio, and 4-H Camp Piedmont, in Belmont County, Ohio. The drone challenge will also be available for 4-H participants in the 18 Ohio counties where the Rover Pipeline is located and various county fairs.
Members will participate in teams, comprised of three to five members working together as engineers and utilizing their STEM skills. The teams will find ways to better reseed native habitats for native pollinators using drones. This includes conducting drone videography to map target areas using digital software, and applying the engineering process to design, build and tether a flock of drones to seed a native pollinator mixture of warm season grasses and flowers known to be beneficial for native pollinators.
Innovative agriculture solutions such as this could enable landowners to access areas not possible with a traditional seeder, decrease planting costs, reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, inhibit the expansion of invasive species, and provide the food and habitat for insects and wildlife.
“We are very grateful for the generous donation from Rover Pipeline and Energy Transfer to be able to offer new ways to advance STEM to young Ohioans,” said Dr. Bob Horton, 4-H Educational Design Specialist. “This program will give youth hands-on experience in understanding the innovative ways unmanned aerial vehicles are used in agriculture today and help them think about some amazing career opportunities.”
Career connections are central to the design challenge helping youth to explore engineering, seed genetics, entomology, wildlife and natural resources. 4-H camps and clubs will be supplied with supplemental 4-H learning kits to enrich the experience. More information and a demonstration of the drones can be found at https://ohio4h.org/news/rover-pipeline-supports-new-4-h-initiative.