4-H team excels in national competition

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Senior 4-H Wildlife Judging Team members represented Georgia remarkably by placing second in the National Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program Competition held in Louisiana.

Team members advanced to the national competition after winning the State 4-H Wildlife Judging competition at Rock Eagle 4-H Center.

The winning team members included Caleb Adkins, Cherise Dryden, Emily Ray and Garrett Christie. Adkins shined by taking overall high individual honors.

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Students learned to identify common wildlife foods, judge quality of wildlife habitat from aerial photos, recommend wildlife habitat management practices, develop a rural wildlife management plan, and develop an urban wildlife management plan.

These 4-H members have been dedicating their time and working diligently over the past six months to prepare to compete for this honor. With the gracious help of the volunteer coach, Teresa Adkins, and the guidance from other community specialists, their hard work was rewarded.

The judging team was also very fortunate to have financial support and sponsorship from local businesses in which the trip would not have been possible without their assistance.

The contest, which is held annually in different regions of the country, attracted 62 participants and more than 32 coaches from 16 states.

Participants judged wildlife habitat in the ‚ÄúSoutheast Mixed and Outer Coastal Plains Forest” region using habitat evaluation skills they learned through their local 4-H WHEP training.

Tennessee 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP) team took first place in the team competition at the 2008 4-H WHEP National Contest in Zwolle, La., on July 22. The Georgia team placed second and Mississippi team took third.

The Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program is a 4-H youth natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to junior and senior level (ages 8-19) youth in the United States.

WHEP won the 1996 Wildlife Society Conservation Education Award. The Wildlife Society is the professional organization that certifies wildlife biologists nationwide.