From July 28 - August 1, this year's National 4-H Forestry Invitational was held at the Jackson's Mill State 4-H Conference Center in Weston, W. Va., open annually to one team representing each state.
"The purpose of the Invitational is to develop an appreciation for the importance of conserving forestland as a source of products, benefits, and services necessary for quality living. 4-Hers learn citizenship and leadership skills as well as practical forest management skills through participation," notes the competition's website.
This year, Florida 4-H was represented by your senior state champion Forest Ecology team from Polk County 4-H, with team members Alex Thomas, Michaela Mathis, Hunter Jerrigan and Makayla Taylor, along with their coach Tammy Thomas.
As a team, they were named as the winning team in the forestry quiz bowl, and as the fourth place team overall in the nation, with 13 teams and 50 individuals competing in this year's national competition.
Congratulations to this amazing team on all of their accomplishments, and best of luck to them in all of their future adventures related to forestry and beyond.
Teams from Pinellas County 4-H and Leon County 4-H were named as your state champions in junior and intermediate divisions, respectively, at the state contest back in the spring, hosted by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources & Conservation.
The "forest ecology" contest, as it is known as in Florida, or simply, "forestry" contest as it is known nationally, tests youth's skills in tree identification and measurement, forest evaluation, orienteering, map use, insect and disease identification and performance in a forestry quiz bowl and written exam both individually and as a team. For more information and complete results, visit 4hforestryinvitational.org.
From July 31 - August 4, this year's Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championships were held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Ga., where Florida was well represented in the horse show as well as with youth from five Florida counties who competed in five educational contests.
"The Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championships brings together 13 states to compete in a horse show and educational contests. Youth are brought together in one facility to represent their state in this amazing event that happens once a year," notes an information page.
Florida was represented in five of the educational contests by youth from five counties with additional youth who qualified but did not attend.
In the Individual Presentation Contest, reserve state champion Emily Nirenberg from Lee County 4-H (left/first photo) competed with her demonstration, "Got the Itch?" and placed tenth overall, with 14 contestants competing.
State champion Amelia McKenzie from Indian River County 4-H also qualified for the regional contest, but did not compete.
In the Hippology Contest, your state champion team from Lake County 4-H, made up of Dominique Palka, Dagan Daniels and Iris Jackson, along with Dana Kusch from St. Johns County 4-H competed. As a team, they placed eighth in the judging phase and eleventh overall, and individually, Dana Kusch placed seventh overall, with 13 teams and 52 individuals competing.
Your reserve state champion team from Indian River County 4-H also qualified for the regional contest, but did not compete.
In the Horse Judging Contest, your state champion team from Brevard County 4-H, made up of Sophie Moutsatsos, Arianna Lockman, Hannah Cyrus and Mary Rehbein (middle/second photo) competed. As a team, they placed second in the halter division, sixth in the performance division, fifth in reasons and fourth overall.
Individually, Sophie Moutsatsos placed as the high individual in the halter division, seventh in the performance division, seventh in reasons and as the reserve high individual overall, with 15 teams and 52 individuals competing.
In the Horse Public Speaking Contest, your state champion Rian Rose from Hernando County 4-H (right/third photo), and reserve state champion Brenna Rowe from Brevard County 4-H represented Florida. Rian Rose competed with her speech "Cloning Horses" and placed fifth overall, and Brenna Rowe competed with her speech "The Facts About Fly Spray" and placed sixth overall, with nine speakers competing.
Finally, in the Horse Quiz Bowl Contest, your state champion team from Lake County 4-H, made up of Payton Allen, Alaila Champion, Amarige Champion and Erin Tharp competed, with 12 teams total in the event.
A team with members from Alachua County 4-H and Marion County 4-H who was your reserve state champion also qualified for the regional contest but did not compete.
Each of these youth and teams qualified for the regional contests by placing first or second at the state level contests for each event earlier this year. For more information and complete results, visit ext.vt.edu/4h-youth/horse/events/southern-regionals.html.
Congratulations to each on their accomplishments, and best of luck to the state champions as they advance to the national level during the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup this fall.
(Photos from Lee County Florida 4-H, 4H Horse & Farm LIFE Club and Nancy Maisello Moores 4-H on Facebook)