Louisiana 4-H’ers compete in national forestry contest

Keith Hawkins, Fontenot, Gwen Taylor, Morgan, Johnny W.  |  7/30/2008 1:06:14 AM

Louisiana participants at the 2008 National 4-H Forestry Invitational in West Virginia were, from left, Gwen Fontenot, Leah Delahoussaye, Kristen Hippler, Julie Barrios and Keith Hawkins. (Click on image for downloadable photo.)

News Release Distributed 07/30/08

Three Louisiana 4-H members were among competitors from 14 states who participated in the 29th Annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational July 20-24 at West Virginia University’s Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center.

Louisiana participants were Julie Barrios of Converse, Leah Delahoussaye of Erath and Kristen Hippler of Many. The team was coached by Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter area forestry agent.

The Louisiana 4-H members, who competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories, started at the local level and advanced through state competition on to the nationals, Hawkins said.

Alabama won the event, with Illinois placing second and Pennsylvania third. The Louisiana team came in seventh.

“Our team members were trained by their county agents in their parish before coming to 4-H U at LSU in June, where they competed in the woodlands clinic and received the highest scores, which qualified them for the national competition,” he said.

Events included a written test, tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing competition, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, the Forestry Bowl and forest evaluation.

Gwen Fontenot, LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Natchitoches Parish, said the event helps the team members develop leadership and communication skills.

“Even though our team didn’t win at the national level, I can see that the members gained a sense of confidence just by having the opportunity to compete,” Fontenot said.

4-H is a youth education program of the LSU AgCenter. Nationally, it is operated by the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state land-grant universities.

More than 1.5 million youth participate in 4-H across the country, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H forestry program.

This national forestry competition is sponsored by the Farm Credit Systems (FCS) and the Cooperative Extension Service.

More information on Louisiana 4-H is online at www.lsuagcenter.com.

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Contacts: Gwen Fontenot at (318) 357-2224 or gfontenot@agcenter.lsu.edu

Keith Hawkins at (337) 463-7006 or khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Johnny Morgan at (225) 578-8484 or jmorgan@agcenter.lsu.edu

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