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Georgia 4-H youth awarded highest state honor in forestry knowledge

By for CAES News

Twenty-six Georgia 4-H’ers participated in the  State Forestry Field Day for program year 2021 on Sept. 19 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia. Throughout the afternoon event, participants adhered to COVID-19 prevention measures as guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Georgia 4-H forestry program teaches youth to identify up to 70 Georgia tree species, as well as common pests and diseases that impact those trees. The forestry field day competition allows youth 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 the state forestry judging contest.

“The pandemic certainly caused volunteer coaches and county personnel to be creative with virtual practices until youth could meet in person,” said Craven Hudson, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H specialist. “We were able to hold all area contests in person, and these youth have worked hard to prepare for today.”

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. Site evaluation is added at the state level and requires youth to consider landowner objectives and make forest management recommendations.

Each county may bring up to 20 senior contestants from ninth through 12th grades. The youth compete individually and as team members. The first-place senior team winners will represent Georgia at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational in August 2021 at the Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Conference Center in Weston, West Virginia.

This year’s winners at the State Forestry Field Day are:

First place team: Bartow County — Sasha Morgan, Gus Federico, Bethany Craven and Gabriel Craven

Second place team: Oconee County — Kalani Washington, Alicia Carnes, Robie Lucas and Lexi Pritchard

Third place team: Burke County — Holt Sapp, Emmaline Cunningham, Samuel Eckerman and Tony Gray

Senior high individual: Gus Federico, Bartow County

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true 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 UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local UGA Extension office.

Austin Clark is the Georgia 4-H Public Relations Associate.
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