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Alabama Team Earns Top Honors at National 4-H Forestry Invitational

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 Left to right, Angela Nichols (Coach), Gavin Rankins, Seth Rankins, Polly Barron, Lisa Barron, Sherry Barron, Baylor Nichols, and Greg Nichols (Coach)

Alabama placed first among 12 state teams that competed in the 35th annual National4-H Forestry Invitational from Sunday, July 27, through Thursday, July 31. Teams from New York and Georgia placed second and third, respectively. Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia were also represented at this year's Invitational.

The invitational was held at West Virginia University Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia. The event is sponsored by Farm Credit System, Plum Creek, The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., The Society of American Foresters, West Virginia University Extension Service, The American Forest Foundation, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.‚Äč

While at the Invitational4-H members competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories.  Events included tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, forest evaluation, the forestry bowl and a written forestry exam.

 Alabama was represented by Lisa and Polly Barron both from Auburn and Gavin and Seth Rankins both from Cusseta. The team was coached by Greg and Angela Nichols from Lafayette.

Lisa Barron from Alabama received the high point individual award.  Second place high individual award was given to Daryl Blough from New York and third place high individual award was given to Seth Rankins from Alabama.
 
The Joe Yeager "Spirit of the Invitational" award was given to Nathaniel Erwin of Kentucky.  This award recognizes an outstanding 4-H contestant at the Invitational.  It is presented to the individual who takes initiative, is enthusiastic, and is eager to lead academic and social situations.

4-H is a youth education program operated by the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the state land grant universities. More than six million youth, 540,000 volunteers, and 3,500 professionals participate in 4-H nationwide, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H Forestry Program.

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