Making History – 4-H Alumna Peggy Whitson

NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson embarked on her third mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in mid-November. Peggy grew up on a farm in Iowa, and was an active 4-H member. In a recent video produced by NASA and shown on PBS American Graduate Day, Peggy talked about the importance of 4-H in her life and today in the lives of millions of youth; see the interview at .

Peggy has made NASA and space history during her career:

  • With her third launch into space for the Expedition 50/51 ISS mission, Peggy
    • became the oldest woman in space. She celebrated her 57th birthday aboard the ISS.
    • became the first woman to command the ISS twice on April 9, 2017.
    • she seized the record for most spacewalks by a female in March of 2017
    • surpassed Jeff Williams’ record of 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes of cumulative time in space. When she returns to Earth, she’ll have spent more than 650 days in space
  • In her first mission, Expedition 5/6 in 2002, she was named NASA’s first Science Officer.
  • In her second mission in 2007-08, she became the first woman to command the ISS for Expedition 16.
  • After returning from Expedition 16, she became the first woman appointed as chief of the NASA Astronaut Office.
  • During her first two missions, Peggy performed six spacewalks, totaling 39 hours and 46 minutes.

While Peggy is in space, NASA and 4-H will release a series of learning activities about how NASA prepares crews to live together in space and how youth can develop these skills for their personal lives and future education and careers. The project will be announced in December 2016 and will become available online in monthly installments on the NASA and NIFA 4-H web sites during January – April 2017.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
March 2017

4-H Alumna & NASA Astronaut Speaks to 4‑H’ers from Space

Peggy Whitson, Commander of NASA’s Expedition 50/51, a 4-H alumna, answered 4‑H’ers’ questions via down-link from the International Space Station (ISS) to Johnson Space Center in Texas. While on the ISS, she will surpass the current record of 534 days in space.

Tompkins County, NY, Starts a 4-H Memory Wall

As a way to promote awareness of 4-H history, Tompkins County mobilized the theme “4‑H Memories Last a Lifetime” by collecting memorabilia (1932-2015) for a Memory Wall at the 4-H Fair. Members, leaders and parents contributed items and county staff cleaned out old files to populate the exhibit.


These are examples of National 4-H Charters that were cherished by many 4-H members and families for the things that were learned and projects completed by countless youth through loving guidance of dedicated adult volunteer leaders. Both charters were signed by the then-current Secretary of Agriculture and represent charters issued by USDA to clubs across the country at that time.

The Mavis 4-H Club (left) of Pennington County, Minnesota, received their charter in what appears to be 1944 and met charter requirements through 1978 (34 years), while the Ellis Hollow Homemakers (right) of Tompkins County, New York, received their charter in 1958 and continued to complete the year’s work through 1981 (23 years).


Who was Jessie Fields Shambaugh?

A film by an Iowa 4-H’er entered in the 2016 “FilmFest 4‑H” answers that question for you. Adam Clayton’s film took second place in the “Voices of 4‑H” category. This year’s “FilmFest 4-H” is July 23-27 in Kansas City.

Horse Racing’s Youngest Jockey Won the Triple Crown in 1978

Steve Cauthen, a 4-H’er from Kentucky, started racing in 1976; in this first race, he came in last; in his second race he came in first. In 1977 he led the nation in horserace wins with 487. The Triple Crown was not won again until 2015.

Tell us the Year this 4-H Calendar was Printed

In the 10 years the 4-H History Preservation Team has been working, we’ve collected 88 different 4-H calendars, printed calendar images and pieces of original artwork. Here’s one recently uncovered on which we have no information; we’re hoping your vivid 4-H memories can help us date it.

4-H History Preservation Team Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

The National 4-H History Preservation Program started in 2007 with a group of seven volunteers, mostly retired national level 4-H staff; we now number 12, including some current staff and some retired state staff, all still volunteers. The number of visitors to our website is rapidly nearing 200,000 globally and our Newsletter reaches some 5,900. We’re grateful for that generous response. We rely on your continued support; please email us.

Enjoy this Issue!