October 2015
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Leaders in Forestry and Wildlife

The Alabama 4-H Forestry Judging team from Pickens County placed third at the 36th Annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational. Team members are (from left) Beth Gibbs, chaperone; Ginny Grace Gibbs; Mollie Watkins; Lydia Abernathy; Amber Watkins and Sam Wiggins, coach.  

Alabama 4-H teams place in top 3 in national contests.

Two Alabama 4-H teams recently placed in the top spots at national competitions.

The Alabama 4-H Forestry Judging team placed third among 14 state teams at the 36th Annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational held at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, W. Va.

Representing Alabama were Ginny Grace Gibbs, Mollie Watkins, Lydia Abernathy and Amber Watkins from Pickens County. Abernathy was the sixth high Overall Individual in the competition. The Alabama team placed second in the Forestry Bowl event and third in the written exam.

The Alabama 4-H Wildlife Judging team won second place at the National Wildlife Habitat Education, held at the Alabama 4-H Youth and Development Center in Columbiana. Wildlife teams from 12 states competed at the event.

The Lee County 4-H team represented Alabama at the event. Team members include Lisa Barron, Polly Barron, Nathan Gullat and Gavin Rankins. Rankins also won first place high Overall Individual.

"We are very proud of our Alabama 4-H Forestry team and 4-H Wildlife team, and their accomplishments at the national contests," said Dr. Molly Gregg, Alabama Extension assistant director for 4-H. "Alabama 4-H has a long history of excellence at these events and our teams from Pickens County and Lee County continued that tradition."

  The 4-H Wildlife Judging team from Lee County won second place at the National Wildlife Habitat Education. Team members are (from left, front) Lisa Barron; Polly Barron; Sherry Barron, coach; (back) Gavin Rankins and Nathan Gullat.

Alabama 4-H Forestry Judging teams have won the National Forestry Invitational 18 times with Alabama 4-H’ers winning 14 high overall individual awards since 1980.

Alabama 4-H Wildlife Judging teams have won the National Wildlife Habitat Evaluation contest eight times and placed second eight times since 1989.

Wildlife Habitat Education Program is a hands-on natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management and species identification to youth ages 8-19 through 4-H or FFA organizations. Studying a science-based manual, participants learn wildlife terms and concepts, habitats and how to judge their quality, habitat management practices and damage management.

The National 4-H Forestry Invitational is the national championship of 4-H forestry. The Invitational helps youth develop an appreciation for the importance of conserving forestland as a source of products, benefits and services necessary for quality living. 4-H foresters learn citizenship and leadership skills as well as practical forest management skills through participation in the 4-H Forestry Invitational. By learning these skills, young people will be better prepared to own forestland or deal with environmental issues in the future.

Alabama 4-H is the youth education program arm of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. More than 120,000 young people participated or were enrolled in Alabama 4-H programs in the last year.

Donna Reynolds is the communication editor of news and public affairs with ACES in Auburn.