The Lee County Wildlife Habitat Education Team is representing Alabama at the 4-H National Wildlife Habitat Education Program Contest currently underway at the Alabama 4-H Center.
Lisa Barron, Polly Barron, Nathan Gullat and Gavin Rankins earned the right to represent the state as members of the state champion Lee County team.
Emily Nichols, a 4-H specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said, “The Wildlife Habitat Education program offers young people the chance to develop skills they will use as adults. Some former participants now work in natural resources while others use what they learned to better manage their own woodland property.”
Nichols added that there are a number of challenging components in competition.
“Participants complete some elements of the competition as individuals,” she said. “But they must work as a team to develop a wildlife management plan, a concise one-page description of how to improve the wildlife habitat potential for a specific property. After the written plan, each team member answers questions from the judges to show they participated in the plan’s creation and understand their proposed recommendations. ”
Lee County is no stranger to the National WHEP Contest having sent three teams to compete since it entered the program in 1996. The 2012 Lee County team placed second and boasted the top two high scoring individuals.
Retired Lee County Extension Coordinator Chuck Browne said, “Alabama has always had strong natural resources programs. The Lee County program participants are motivated by the success of the teams that came before them.”
Extension specialist in forestry, wildlife and natural resources, Dr. Jim Armstrong said, “The participants in these events go on to study natural resource management in college or become leaders in other fields as a result of the work ethic and knowledge they gain from this program.”
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