Youths in West Virginia will create and conduct local and statewide water quality and conservation plans using a $75,000 Toyota grant to West Virginia University Extension Services Operation 4-H20.

Operation 4-H20 promotes youth-adult partnerships via clubs and after-school programs. It began in county 4-H clubs this fall and includes a new environmental science curriculum in which participants will collect and evaluate water samples from local streams and rivers.

Because West Virginias 4-H clubs reach so many children in the state, Toyota sees our programs as a great vehicle for their environmental initiatives,said Chad Higgins, WVU Extension Service 4-H curriculum specialist.We need to teach the next generation to take care of finite resources like our water supply.

Participating counties are divided into three cluster groups. Each group will look at a particular aspect of water quality and sustainability issues.

Cluster One consists of Cabell, Putnam and Kanawha counties. Members of this cluster will study manufacturing effects on water quality and conservation.

Cluster Two is made up of Mason, Jackson and Wood counties. This cluster looks at agricultures impact on water quality.

Cluster Three participants from Pendleton, Hardy, Grant, Hampshire and Mineral counties will study water quality from a watershed standpoint.

In April, Toyota announced the overall $1.48 million grant to the National 4-H Council to be divided among five states nationwide. 4-H Youth Development programs in California, Kentucky, Michigan and Mississippi received similar grants.

4-H provides youth with hands-on learning experiences in the areas of science, engineering and technology, healthy living and citizenship. WVU Extension Service operates in all 55 counties in West Virginia.

For more information on 4-H and other WVU Extension Service programs, visit .