ATHENS — Twenty-eight Georgia 4-H students participated in the 2019 State Forestry Field Day held recently at Flinchum’s Phoenix, located in the University of Georgia’s Whitehall Forest.
The Georgia 4-H Forestry program teaches youths to identify up to 70 Georgia tree species as well as common pests and diseases that impact those trees. The forest field day competition allows the students to test their science-based knowledge, critical thinking skills, and skills with specialized forestry tools. Participants can be a part of a county team or compete individually in area and state forestry judging contests.
“Our volunteer coaches and county personnel who send teams to the state contest are really creative in teaching these skills in a way that is fun,” University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H Specialist Craven Hudson said. “While they all want to win, it is rewarding to see the camaraderie and sportsmanship displayed during the contest.”
The state contest consists of five stations: insect and disease identification, volume estimation, compass and pacing, tree identification and site evaluation. All county teams prepared for the state contest by competing in one of four Area Forestry Field Days held earlier in September. During the awards ceremony, participants also received information from student ambassadors on opportunities with the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
Each county may bring up to 20 senior contestants, grades 9-12. The students compete individually for high individual honors and as a team through the combination of the top individuals. The first-place senior team winners will represent Georgia at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational in August 2020 at the Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Conference Center in Weston, W. Va.
This year’s winners at the State Forestry Field Day were:
♦ First-place team — Coweta County: Jennifer Brinton, Bella Fisk, Alexa Hillebrand, Michael Whitlock
♦ Second-place team — Oconee County: Kalani Washington, Neely McCommons, Alicia Carnes, Alyssa Haag
♦ Third-place team — Bartow County: Bethany Craven, Gabriel Craven, Gus Federico, Sasha Morgan
♦ Senior High Individual — Oconee County: Kalani Washington.
Georgia 4-H empowers young people to become leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 175,000 people annually through the UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact a local extension office.