Thursday, May 18, 2017

Members Learn, Explore and Compete at 4-H Wildlife and Forestry Field Day

The 2017 4-H Wildlife and Forestry Field Day, held at Rock Springs, PA on April 22, was another “wild” success! 4-H youth and adults from across the state explored the wildlife and forestry sciences. The event featured an Exploratory Track for younger 4-H youth and a Science Track for teens. The theme for the Exploratory Track presented tools and methods for wildlife and forestry research, while the Science Track focused on applying research knowledge to managing forests and wildlife.

The event also included a competitive knowledge and skills test for teens hoping to attend national 4-H competitive events in wildlife and forestry. The top five winners in wildlife science were: 1st Place - Ella Miller (Tioga County), 2nd Place - Hilary Fernandes (Tioga County), 3rd Place - Tony Bertolino (Indiana County),and tied for 4th Place were Carter Wynn (Juniata County) and Reagan Lynch (Somerset County). These top-scoring individuals now have the opportunity to represent Pennsylvania at the 2017 National Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Contest to be held July 30-August 2 in Eatonton, GA. Participants in both the state and national programs must demonstrate their knowledge in habitat evaluation, wildlife identification, wildlife management practices, and applied wildlife science principles.

The top four winners in forestry science were: 1st Place - Cody Lynch (Somerset County), 2nd Place - Grace Stewart (Dauphin County), 3rd Place - Garin Hoy (Huntingdon County), and 4th Place - Cory Campbell (Indiana County). The National 4-H Forestry Invitational will be held July 30-August 3 at Jackson’s Mill 4-H Conference Center in Weston, WV. Participants in both the state and national programs must demonstrate their skills in tree measurement, tree identification, insect and disease identification, compass use, topographic map reading, and applied forestry principles.

Extension Specialist Sanford Smith, Penn State Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and David Jackson, Penn State Extension Forestry Educator, organized this year’s event. Also assisting were Margaret Brittingham, Penn State professor of Wildlife Sciences; 4-H volunteer leader and professional forester, Ashlee Gulvas; and 14 undergraduate and graduate students from Penn State. The Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Implementation Committee and Pennsylvania Forest Products Association helped sponsor this event. For more information, contact Sanford Smith at or David Jackson at

Exploratory Track participants at the 2017 Wildlife and Forestry Field Day explored the theme of wildlife and forestry research methods by participating in numerous hands-on, kid-friendly stations. Photo by: Barb Sellers 

Youth in the Science Track of the 2017 Wildlife and Forestry Field Day learned to apply wildlife and forestry knowledge in on-site skills sessions. A sign language interpreter (center) assisted in explaining tree measuring technique. Photo by: Barb Sellers