4-H’ers win first place in national competition
WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. -- A team of Mississippi 4-H’ers brought home a first-place award this summer in a national wildlife habitat management competition.
The three-member team competed in the National Wildlife Habitat Education Program contest in Milford, Iowa, July 31-Aug. 2. They earned their spot in the national contest after placing first at 4-H Club Congress earlier in the summer.
Ray Henderson, Wayne County 4-H volunteer leader who coached the team with his wife, Jennifer, said the team put in several months of work before winning the state and national competitions.
“We’ve been studying since last September getting ready for both of these competitions,” Henderson said. “We spent hours studying habitat and how to manage and improve it for all different kinds of wildlife.”
Team members Ashlyn Henderson, Karolina Heathcock and Jalyn Cochran competed against 10 other 4-H teams in four events: wildlife management plan, oral reasoning for the management plan, wildlife challenge, and wildlife management practices.
Ashlyn Henderson and Karolina Heathcock also earned individual awards -- Henderson as high-scoring individual and Heathcock as second high-scoring individual.
The national contest also provides experiential learning before the contest begins. Participants toured the grounds of the contest site to observe prairie sites, identify fish and aquatic plant species, and more.
Team members belong to the Wayne County 4-H Conservation Explorers Club.
The National Wildlife Habitat Education Program, or WHEP, teaches 4-H and FFA members wildlife and fisheries habitat management through hands-on experiences. Participants learn about wildlife habitat, wildlife terms and concepts, judging wildlife habitat quality, wildlife habitat management practices and wildlife damage management.