Linda F. Benedict, Van Osdell, Mary Ann
Louisiana team places fifth at National Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program
WHEP is a 4-H youth natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to youth, said Paul Morris, LSU AgCenter county agent in Sabine Parish and co-chair of the event. The major parts of the invitational are identifying wildlife animals and writing a management plan, Morris said.
Louisiana’s team placed ninth in the written wildlife management portion of the event. Members were Micah Patout and Ridge Miguez, both of Iberia Parish, Jeremy Dixon of West Feliciana and Deanna Jason of West Baton Rouge.
Sixteen teams attended the competition, in which participants are introduced to a tract of land and are asked to determine which wildlife management practices they would use to manage the tract in the best possible way for a selected set of wildlife species. They must write a wildlife management plan taking into account the defined objectives of the landowner, making compromises and concessions in trying to develop the best plan possible for a set of two or three wildlife species, Morris said.
Teams also take a written test and wildlife identification test done by a slide show. “Answers have to be spelled correctly,” said Ethan Willers of Starkville, Miss.
Louisiana also had individual winners in the competition. Miguez placed eighth and Patout placed sixth among Overall High Individuals. Patout placed eighth in knowledge and activities quizzes and tenth in wildlife management practices score sheets. Migeuz placed fifth in oral defense.
In oral defense, participants are given five questions based on a wildlife scenario and study area.
Patout also won honorable mention in an essay challenge, using Lake Providence author Shellie Rushing Tomlinson’s Remembering Bull Run Road. Participants crafted an essay about a land feature, seasonal event or occupation that influenced their life and included land management practices in it.
Patout said he prepared for the contest by studying a manual. “I am interested in biology and working in this field,” he said. “My father works for Wildlife and Fisheries.”
“These programs can help you get a flavor of careers you want to investigate,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor. “I really hope many of you consider a career in science.”
Scott Durham with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told the group healthy forests add to quality of life. “You guys are aware of that or you wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Durham was among speakers on Monday, which was an educational day that included discussions on fisheries management and wildlife damage control, trapping, deer management and bird identification. It was held at Hodges Gardens.
Wednesday was a fun day with trips to Water Town, a fun shoot at Shreveport Gun Club and a guided fishing trip.
Other events included a tamale making demonstration.
Morris said entities in Sabine Parish contributed more than $25,000 in sponsorships for the event. They included the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta, Toledo Lake Association, Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce, Sabine Farm Bureau and Sabine Parish School Board.
“The Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program national contest is a tremendous opportunity for youth throughout the nation to come together and build on the essential elements of 4-H youth development,” said Dr. Mark Tassin, department head, 4-H Youth Development for the LSU AgCenter. “Through teamwork they build a stronger sense of belonging. By competing and evaluating all aspects of wildlife management they develop mastery through practice and competition. Finally, by making decisions required by the contest, building consensus and practicing leadership these young 4-H youth develop a sense of independence.
“Only one team will be national champions in the WHEP contest, but all of these youth are winners and will take with them positive life experiences that will help them become successful adults,” Tassin said.
Currently there are about 10,000 4-H’ers nationwide who participate in WHEP.
Julie Barrios, Sabine Parish 4-H Junior Leader president, concluded the awards ceremony by telling her fellow 4-H’ers from across the country that she hoped they learned to “let the good times roll. Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
Red River starts Facebook page
Operation Military Kids holds rocket camp at Barksdale
Exactly 40 years after Apollo 11 took off for the moon, 30 kids gathered at Barksdale Air Force Base as part of a weeklong rocketry camp, complete with a launch of their own on July 16.
This is one of a number of events around the state to help military families stay connected, said Kathleen Schexnayder, coordinator of the Louisiana Operation: Military Kids program in the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development Department.
Victor Santana, youth program director for Barksdale Air Force Base, said the event keeps the kids busy during the summer, helps them interact, gives them a hands-on project, introduces them to space and rocketry and keeps their mind focused if their parents are deployed.
Operation: Military Kids is a support network that started five years ago with the goal of educating the public about the unique stress facing military children, Schexnayder said.
OMK is a program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Daily journals are kept on what was learned and are judged for prizes, he said.
The children, 8 to 12 years old, became familiar with thrust, gravity, drag and airlift, Menard said, adding that math lessons included measuring angles, trajectory and distance. “This is one way to encourage girls this age to major in science and math.”
Adunyea Nichols, 11, said he learned Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and gravity and who the Wright Brothers were.
“I learned how to build rockets and other inspiring things,” said Daniel Benjamin, 8. “I can do and make new things. I feel creative.”
Added Kaylee Scott, 7, “I had fun and made new friends. They’re really nice.”
Bossier Parish School Board member Eddy Presley served as a volunteer at the camp. “Working with the kids is great,” he said. He helped them cut patterns and glue fins on plastic bottles used for rockets.
The week ended with a trip to Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport.
An OMK fashion camp followed the week of July 20.
Natchitoches 4-H’er wins National Dairy Conference Trip, 4-H alumni winner named
The 2009 4-H state record competition proved to be a huge success for one Natchitoches parish teen.
Abi Yount, a student at Lakeview High School, won the National Conference trip for her outstanding records. The daughter of David and Iris Yount of Coushatta, she has been a member of 4-H for seven years, winning numerous awards for her livestock projects.
The National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisc., is set for Sept. 25-Oct. 2.
Winning the 4-H Alumni Award was Amanda Taylor Roberts. She was an active 4-H member in Natchitoches from 1977-1986. She was a state and national winner in Horticulture Use Demo, Egg Cookery Illustrated Talk, Club Reporter and Sew with Cotton. She represented the state at 4-H Club Congress in 1985.
Roberts continues to exemplify a strong presence in 4-H and the community by serving as an FCS Advisory Council Member, 4-H adult volunteer, Project Club Leader and is a member of the Natchitoches Service League and Les Amies organizations.
“4-H afforded me the opportunity to travel to places that I'd never been. I also made lifelong friends throughout the state. But perhaps more importantly 4-H taught me the importance of community service and it led me to the career that I have today.” Roberts, a registered dietitian, said.
She is married to Steve Roberts. They have three children -- Tyler, Taylor and Tatum.
Horse Show produces regional winners
Results from the 40th annual Louisiana 4-H and FFA State Horse Show held July 6-11 have been released.
Coordinated by the LSU AgCenter, the event was at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe. Local winners included the following:
Team penning: second, Alex Sauer, Bossier.
Western Pleasure, 13 and under: third, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Western Pleasure, 14 and over: fifth, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Western Horsemanship, 13 and under: second, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Western Horsemanship, 14 and over: fifth, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Western Riding, 13 and under: first, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Western Riding, 14 and over: fifth, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Trail, 13 and under: first, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Reining, 14 and over: third, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Dressage, 13 and under: second, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Dressage, 14 and over: fifth, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Working Hunter, all ages: first, Olivia Willcox, Bossier; fifth, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Hunter Under Saddle, 13 and under: second, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
Hunter Under Saddle, 14 and over: third, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Hunt Seat Equitation, 13 and under: second, Olivia Willcox, Bossier; third, Abbie Guin, Webster.
Hunt Seat Equitation, 14 and over: second, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
English Showmanship, 13 and under: fourth, Olivia Willcox, Bossier.
English Showmanship, 14 and over: first, Katherine Willcox, Bossier.
Barrel Racing, 14 and over: fifth, Lindsey Zanca, Webster.
Junior Individual Performance: third, Chance Cunningham, DeSoto.
Junior Team Performance: second, Chance Cunningham, Kelsey Trenor, Erin Soto, Jessica Soto, DeSoto.
Webster 4-H’ers represent grandparents at awards
Recently the Ken and Joe Beatty family was recognized as an Emerald Clover Club donor to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation at its annual awards banquet during 4-H University.
Representing the Beatty Family and accepting the award were grandchildren Leslie Davis and Anna Beth Robinson, Webster Parish 4-H members. The Beatty Family donated $25,000 to the Louisiana 4-H Foundation to set up an annual scholarship for a Webster or Bienville parish 4-H graduating senior.
Teens represent Northwest Region on 4-H food, fitness board
Three 4-H teens represent the Northwest Region 4-H on the Louisiana State Food and Fitness Board.
Sara Patterson and Mikaela Carender are 4-H Members in Webster Parish, and Greg Simmons is from DeSoto Parish. The teens were selected through an application and interview process during 4-H University. They traveled to Lafayette for their first board meeting, which includes planning upcoming food and fitness events.
Leader training held at Boardwalk
The annual Northwest Regional 4-H Leaders’ Training was held July 16 at the University of Phoenix, located in the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City.
Northwest Regional 4-H coordinator Karen Martin directed the event. Each of the seven parishes was represented by agents, 4-H volunteer leaders and 4-H members. The day’s agenda included presentations on club management, volunteer benefits, youth brainstorming and health.
Farrar receives Attorney General Livestock Leader Award
Lynn Farrar, a 4-H volunteer in Caddo Parish, received the Attorney General Livestock Leader Award.
She will receive a plaque, an engraved pen and a certificate during the State Livestock Show.
Farrar is the superintendent for the poultry show at the State Fair of Louisiana.
Two have new responsibilities for LSU AgCenter
Joe Barrett joined the staff at the LSU AgCenter office in Natchitoches effective Aug. 1.
Barrett will have responsibilities in 4-H and agriculture and natural resources.
He has been with the LSU AgCenter for 23 years, most recently as a 4-H and county agent in Bossier Parish. He coordinates the regional shooting sports activities for the LSU AgCenter.
Barrett has a B.S. in agribusiness and an M.S. in botany from Louisiana Tech University.
Barrett also worked as an agent in Georgia for four years.
Dr. Charlie Graham, associate professor of fruit and nut crops at the LSU AgCenter Pecan Research-Extension Station, will assume extension responsibilities statewide for pecans. He is replacing Dr. John Pyzner, who retired July 31.
Graham has been strictly research faculty, but will now have 25 percent appointment in extension with statewide responsibilities for pecans, said Dr. Patrick Colyer, LSU AgCenter Northwest Region director.
Graham received his Ph.D. in plant physiology in 1994 from Clemson University, his M.S. in horticulture from Texas A&M University and his B.S. in education from Texas A&M.
Graham’s current project is breeding, cultural management and post-harvest physiology of pecans. He has been at the Pecan Station since 2000 and for five years prior was housed at the LSU AgCenter Calhoun Research Station.