Little Rock, Ark. — Feb. 22, 2019 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have entered into a partnership with Arkansas 4-H to host the SeaPerch Challenge, an underwater robotics event that will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Center at Bishop Park in Bryant.

The SeaPerch is a remotely operated submersible built from more than three dozen parts including PVC pipe, pool noodles, three 12-volt motors and batteries. During the contest, teams must navigate their SeaPerch through obstacle courses and complete other tasks such as moving plastic rings from one part of the course and successfully place them in another part. The goal is to ignite youth interest in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM.

“The great thing about SeaPerch is that 4-H members can build their interest in STEM from the ground up, using parts that are readily available in hardware and electronics stores,” said Lori Canada, 4-H development coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Then, there’s the satisfaction of learning to use the submersible, make adjustments and work as a team to hone their skills for competition.”

“The skills that go into this are so important for these young people to see that STEM isn’t just theory, it has practical and, most importantly, fun applications,” Canada said. “And that reflects the larger mission for 4-H – to learn by doing.”

Participation in the 2019 Arkansas Seaperch Challenge is up 92 percent with more than 80 youth representing 25 teams from 15 counties registered to compete.

“Arkansas’ electric cooperatives are advocates for STEM education-based programs, such as SeaPerch, that provide future leaders with learning opportunities that prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow,” said Rob Roedel, director of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “We look forward to helping grow the SeaPerch program in Arkansas with Arkansas 4-H, our long-time youth education partner.”

To learn more about the SeaPerch initiative, visit

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or