Mary Ann Van Osdell, Morris, Paul F. | 6/25/2009 5:55:01 PM
Nearly 100 youth from across the country will converge at the Wildwood Resort on Toledo Bend in Zwolle July 19-23 for the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program.
Sixteen teams of six are expected from as far as Maryland, Wisconsin and Utah, according to Paul Morris, LSU AgCenter county agent in Sabine Parish and co-chair of the event.
Although this is a competitive event, its primary function is to teach wildlife and fisheries habitat management to youth, Morris said.
“The major parts of the invitational are identifying wildlife animals and determining best management practices for these animals,” Morris said.
The Louisiana team historically does well at this event and last year placed second out of 18 state teams at the competition in Stillwater, Okla.
This year’s sponsors include the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta, Toledo Lake Association, Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, Sabine Farm Bureau, Louisiana County Agents Association, Sabine Parish School Board, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association and the LSU AgCenter.
WHEP, which is sponsored nationally by the Cooperative Extension Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, began in 1978 in Tennessee as a wildlife judging contest. The program went nationwide in 1989, and in 1990 the WHEP began moving to various regions around the county, exposing participants to wildlife habitats and practices unique to those regions.
About 10,000 4-H’ers participate in WHEP.
Mary Ann Van Osdell
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture