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BURLINGTON -- Four Essex residents were selected to participate in these year's 4-H State Day. 

Lily Merchant, Patrick Jordan and Jillian and Tucker Murdough worked with other members of their club, the Flying Hooves, to present their show, "Staying Connected While Apart."

Chittenden County 4-H was well-represented at this year's event, which was organized as a virtual celebration with 109 entries sent in by 82 4-H members, including 19 from the county.

State Day is an annual event hosted by University of Vermont Extension 4-H to celebrate the talents and achievements of Vermont 4-H'ers. The day also aims to help kids grow their communication, public speaking and presenting skills. 

State Day had been scheduled to take place April 25, but was cancelled due to COVID-19 and transformed into a virtual event. 

4-H'ers from throughout the state were invited to submit entries by video or email in 16 different categories including tabletop exhibits, demonstrations, photography, posters, action exhibits, stage acts and technology, among others.

These were evaluated on a number of criteria including presentation, creativity and workmanship with feedback provided to the exhibitor.

"Just a few months ago none of us could have imagined that we would be social distancing and that major events in the 4-H year, like State Day, would be canceled," Allison Smith, UVM Extension 4-H Youth Learning Experiences coordinator, said. "Taking this event online was a new endeavor for all of us--staff, volunteers and youth.

"As the exhibits poured in, 4-H'ers led the way in their excitement, innovation and ability to adapt quickly to change. They took their illustrated talks into the field, added music to their team demonstrations and exercised new skills in photography and videography to creatively capture their communications and public speaking projects."

Participants received feedback on their submissions and results were posted online in early June.

UVM Extension 4-H hopes to send Danish ribbons to this year's participants once it is able to open its offices and access its resources again. 

Chittenden County participants, by town, who took part in this UVM Extension 4-H event were:

BURLINGTON: Summer Le (photo: Tree at Dusk)

CHARLOTTE: Samantha Blackmore (photo: A Day in Salerno)

COLCHESTER: Callie and Violet Stamm (group stage presentation: Staying Connected While Apart with members of their club, the Flying Hooves)

ESSEX: Lily Merchant (group stage presentation: Staying Connected While Apart with members of her club, the Flying Hooves)

ESSEX JUNCTION: Patrick Jordan, Jillian and Tucker Murdough (group stage presentation:  Staying Connected While Apart with members of their club, the Flying Hooves)

HINESBURG: Greta Friesen (public speaking: The Adventures of Horse Girl); Olivia Osekoski (poster: Arthritis in Horses)

JERICHO: Sadie Haupt (tabletop exhibit: Sequoyah and Cherokee Syllabary)

MILTON: Morgan and Ryker O'Brien (group stage presentation: Staying Connected While Apart with members of their club, the Flying Hooves)

RICHMOND: Rowan Beeman (poster: Parts of an English Saddle); Kate LaMantia (poster: parts of an English Bridle)

WESTFORD: Adaline Ploof (illustrated talk: Reducing Plastics; individual demonstration:  Chickens; poster: Horses for Hope); Faith Ploof (team demonstration with Sophie Zemianek, St. Albans, on circus horses). The Ploof sisters also took part in a group stage presentation, Staying Connected While Apart, with members of their club, the Flying Hooves.

WILLISTON: Alex Montgomery (group stage presentation: Staying Connected While Apart with members of her club, the Flying Hooves); Liam Palmer (tabletop exhibit: Los Lobos del Rio--Giant River Otters of the Amazon)

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