Supporting The Community-All in a Day’s Work
Over the last few weeks, EID Northeast Marcellus has been attending the local county fairs in our coverage area. One of the great things that I have noticed while at these: the natural gas industry has been helping the youth of the Marcellus Shale region in a big way. We cover one of these examples here where you can see all of the different ways the companies are providing support for local 4H-ers.
Chief Oil and Gas began giving out scholarships to Lycoming County 4-H members three years ago to help youth in the community further their education. This year’s recipient, Ivy Spako, is a Hughesville resident who has been extremely involved in the 4-H for over 9 years where she has held the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Scrapbook Keeper and News Editor with the Pioneer Valley Chapter. As a girl who has raised over 40 animals for 4-H, I think it is amazing that she also had the time to be on the track and field, soccer, and cross country teams, as well as a member of the FBLA, SADD, Student Council, Big Buddy, and Varsity Club at Hughesville High School! Clearly Ivy is a dedicated member of her community, even at such a young age. What a busy girl!
When she is not doing all of these activities, she has been working on gaining experience for her future education and career choice by doing things like spending the summer volunteering for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Ivy will attendMansfield University later this month where she will pursue a degree in Watershed Management with a minor in Geology and continue to participate in Track and Field. She hopes to one day be a Watershed Specialist for the USGS, PA Department of Environmental Protection or the federal Environmental Protection Agency. If her drive in high school is any indicator, I have no doubt she will be able to accomplish this goal! We wish you all the luck with your first semester, Ivy!
The following video is Ivy receiving the scholarship and the second is her discussing her animals and how she will be using the money to help ease the costs of her education.
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As a bonus, Kylie Kiess, last year’s scholarship recipient was also in attendance to discuss how she used her scholarship this past year. All in all, it was a great experience seeing this promising and talented individuals being provided some assistance to pursue their dreams. With the cost of college constantly increasing, every bit helps.
Yet another way that natural gas companies have been helping out local 4-H organizations is by attending auctions, buying animals and donating them back to the Community. The local 4-H can then use this funding towards scholarships and their needs which often include things like building remodeling, new scales or new roofs for the stables, just to name a few uses.
How does this work? The companies receive letters asking them to come and purchase the livestock from the children of their landowners and others. They then head out to the local fair where they bid on the animals–if more than one company is bidding the amounts can reach pretty high numbers well over the anticipated amount for the sale. Then they give the animal back to the 4-H with a designation for how the money is to be used and the animal can be bid on again. The original sale amount goes to the 4-H member selling the animal and the donated bin goes to a designated cause.
Grand Champion steer have been going for anywhere from $8,000-$10,000! The other benefit of this is that when the animal is actually sold for keeps, the farmer or other buyer gets the animal at a significantly lower cost than what they would have originally paid. We can see this is helpful to the entire community.
Exco Resources PA, a great recent addition to the Marcellus team, bought the Grand Champion animals at the recent Lycoming County Fair. Chesapeake has been buying at the Troy, Wyoming County, Sullivan County and Harford fairs. Talisman buys at the Troy and Tioga County fairs. And Cabot supports the Harford fair in Susquehanna County. With so many companies participating in auctions it is great to see how much money is being raised for these local communitites and their 4-H chapters.
I was at one of these competitions at the Troy Fair where even service companies like Cudd Energy, Hawg’s Hauling, and Precision Pipeline were getting in on the action. Here are some pictures from the event. The little girl with the bunnies had 12 different buyers, including Chesapeake, and ended up paying for new scales for the 4-H, something rabbits don’t even need! (More information after the pictures.)
We also met up with 10-year-old, Tyson Harnish, who had his Grand Champion steer bought by Talisman and his Grand Champion pig bought by Chesapeake. Take a look at what he had to say about what he plans to do with his earnings and the accompanying photos of him with his animals and representatives from Chesapeake and Talisman.