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Meet the Presenter: Hardy County 4-H'er Ethan Ferris - 2021 Presentation Expo Gold Ribbon Winner

Ethan Ferris advancing slide of Mann Gulch Fire presentation

Ethan Ferris, 11, is a member of the Hardy County Mill Island 4-H club. He has participated in the State 4-H Presentation Expo for 3 years, because he really enjoys public speaking and sees the expo as a chance to better his public speaking abilities. This is important to him because he recognizes that he will need these skills all the time as he gets older; like for college interviews, job interviews, fundraising for community service projects, etc. He says, "Really, we will use it everywhere!"

In 2019, he received a Gold ribbon for his presentation Red Tide: Nature's Poison. Last year, his presentation was called Vultures, which merited a Blue ribbon in the state contest.

This year, he submitted a PowerPoint Presentation titled - Mann Gulch Fire: Nature’s Fury. He chose to do a presentation on this topic because he heard a song about the Mann Gulch Fire during an Aurora Celtic concert called, "Cold Missouri Water". This song, written by James Keelaghan, is a tribute to the smoke jumpers who battled the Mann Gulch fire in Montana in 1949.

Ethan's favorite part about his presentation is when Foreman Dodge comes up with a life saving technique - an "escape fire". Dodge knew a fire could not burn if there was no fuel, so he lit the grass around him and his crew and prompted his men to step into the ashes of this "escape fire". They did not listen and continued to try to outrun the blaze. Dodge laid down in the ashes and waited for the blaze to pass. Once it did, Dodge only found 2 other survives. Ethan noted that he wished the crew would have trusted Dodge. If you would like to learn more about Dodge and the Mann Gulch Fire, then watch Ethan's presentation.

When asked, "What advice would you give to your peer who may be afraid to give a presentation?" he said, "4-H is a safe place to try new things.  The people are there to help you better your skills and will give friendly feedback on what you can do to make improvements.  This is the perfect place to step out of your comfort zone."

Ethan would like to thank his dad who is a firefighter. He said, "This topic made him understand that as a firefighter you can do everything right but there is always a danger doing the job." He also really appreciates his leaders David, Harry, and Brenda Smith and has missed his club this year. 

Fan Fact: Ethan's favorite pizza topping is "pepperoni, of course!"