4-H Members Compete in Virtual Wildlife Judging Events

4-H Members Compete in Virtual Wildlife Judging Events

By: Melissa Henry, 4-H Agent

Over the past few months, the Putnam County 4-H program has looked quite different thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most activities were cancelled and face to face meetings were banned. It was hard to make adjustments to a program known for its hands-on educational activities. Thankfully the region and state 4-H staff worked with the wildlife specialist to plan and conduct a virtual wildlife judging contest for the youth.

Putnam County 4-H members jumped at the chance to be involved in a virtual contest allowing them the chance to continue to be involved in 4-H competitions. Preparing for this contest took a lot of time and effort on the part of the teams. Practices were held on zoom and videos and photos were used in place of in person meetings. Wildlife judging, which has been around since the early 80’s, involves learning to recognize different animal species native to Tennessee, their habitat and foods they eat. Youth must also learn management practices to create and enhance habitat for those species. The contest involves identifying wildlife species, answering questions about the species and applying management options to a wildlife scenario.

Although the contest was held virtually for the first time, this year around 60 youth from across middle Tennessee competed in the contest.

Putnam County had sixteen youth participate in the practice meetings with ten participating in the contest. In the Junior division, Justin Wieczorek received 4th place as an individual. In the Jr. High division the team of Zainab Hasan, Ezra Owens, and Ashley Thrasher placed 2nd overall. Zainab was named the 1st place overall individual.

In the Senior division, the team of Katherine Wieczorek, Darin Wieczorek, and Reece DeWispelare placed 1st overall with Katherine earning 1st place overall individual and Darin receiving 4th place individual. The team of Britta Gaetjens, Cadence Howell, and Kayla Mick placed 3rd overall in the contest with Britta receiving 3rd place individual honors and Kayla earning 9th place individually.

Putnam County 4-H programs are open to all 4-H members in 4th – 12th grades. For more information on becoming involved in 4-H activities or to sponsor 4-H programs contact the Putnam County 4-H Office at 526-4561.

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Photo Caption:             4-H wildlife team members meet virtually and discuss management practices for a wooded area. (Shown top to bottom) Justin Wieczorek, Katherine Wieczorek, 4-H Agent Melissa Henry, Britta Gaetjens, Zainab Hasan, Darin Wieczorek, and Kayla Mick

Melissa Henry

Extension Agent

4-H Youth Development

UT Extension – Putnam County

  1. S. Walnut Ave. Room 4

Cookeville, TN 38501