Students learn about conservation, sustainable management and forestry products
More than 100 4-H foresters representing 13 states converged on Weston this week for the National 4-H Forestry Invitational. The annual event takes place July 28 to August 1 at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Conference Center—the first and oldest 4-H camp in the United States.
The event is a collaborative effort between Cooperative Extension Service specialists and educators, and professional foresters from the U.S. Forest Service, the West Virginia Division of Forestry and forestry agencies from other state governments.
The West Virginia Division of Forestry is excited to promote this event, said Linda Carnell, assistant state forester in education. West Virginia has had teams participating nearly every year since its inception in 1980, and in 1999 a team from Pocahontas County took home the national award.
“The 4-H Forestry Invitational is a lot of fun. It also serves an important purpose,” Carnell said. “Today’s 4-H participants learn about conservation, sustainable management and forestry products. They will be better prepared to be responsible landowners able to deal with environmental issues in the future.”
As the third-most forested state in the country, West Virginia has a lot of investment in its forests. The Mountain State’s 2019 team hails from Braxton County. Team members are Ellen Collins and Hannah Cooley of Flatwoods, Raven Friend of Exchange, and Julianna Rexroad of Duck. Braxton County WVU Extension Agent Debbie Friend and Christy Collins coach the team.
Super Bowl of Forestry
During the invitational, known as the Super Bowl of Forestry, 4-H students ages 14-18 pit their forestry and knowledge skills against each other over three days of competition. They tackle subjects like tree measurement, tree identification, forest evaluation, compass orienteering, topographic map use and forest insect and disease identification. The event is capped off with local tours, campfires and a woodsman skills fun competition.
The top team is awarded the National 4-H Forestry Winner title. The competition also recognizes one top-scoring individual.
For more information about the 2019 or future National 4-H Forestry Invitational events, visit http://4hforestryinvitational.org/.