|(left to right): Connor Wilkerson, Ethan Boykin, Jaret Rushing (Event Coordinator), Cade Wilkerson, Hunter Saunders|
This year’s competition, hosted by the Calhoun County 4-H program, drew 24 schools from around Arkansas with 157 competitors, well up from the eight schools and 52 competitors drawn to the first competition in 2011, said Jaret Rushing, Calhoun County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. He added that he hopes to see the contest grow to more than 200 contestants in the years to come. This year’s contest was held Feb. 9.
Competitors are tested on their general forestry knowledge and are quizzed on topics such as tree identification; ability to determine the volume of wood from a tree; correct identification of forest equipment, knowledge of forest pests and disorders as well as map interpretation, among other things.
This year’s team finishers:
• First place - Hermitage High School, Bradley County, 1,403 points
• Second place - Taylor High School, Columbia County, 1,346 points
• Third place - Hampton High School, Calhoun County, 1,161 points
Individual high point finishers:
• First place - Jesse Thompkins, Taylor High School, 483 points
• Second place - Cade Wilkerson, Hermitage High School, 482 points
• Third place - Conner Wilkerson, Hermitage High School, 469 points
The Wilkerson brothers were half of the four-person team that won the 2016 National 4-H Forestry competition
“I can’t give enough praise to these kids, coaches and sponsors this year,” Rushing said. “If you’ve never put one of these contest on, it is a tedious chore and without the help of others, this event would suffer greatly!”
Sponsors included: Arkansas Forestry Association, Farm Credit Services of Western Arkansas, Arkansas Farm Bureau of Calhoun County, Calhoun County Cattlemen’s Association, DM Apparel, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Calhoun County employees and Calhoun County Judge Floyd Nutt, Calhoun County Fair Board, Calhoun County Extension Homemakers Council local support from other volunteers as well as the support of the landowners, Michael and Jennifer Beene.
Rushing was grateful to all the participating high school teams. He said Clinton, Greenbrier, Heber Springs and Mountain Home made the longest haul of all – an average of 128 miles a piece.
Kori Kimes, agriculture teacher for Clinton High School, said, “I have been leery of coming this far to a forestry contest but after finally attending, Jaret has me hooked. I will definitely be back.”
For more information on forestry, contact your county extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.