By Michelle Giddens
Since December of 2021, 10-15 teenagers led by 4-H Foundation Agent, Simon Carbone, met every other Saturday at various sites in Bibb County. With compasses in hand, they practiced pacing and how to accurately use a compass. Next came tree species identification, tree measurements, identification of forest insects and diseases, and forest stand evaluation. The 4-H Forestry program helps youth gain a strong understanding of trees, forest management and environmental issues. It also provides hands-on learning experience that helps them develop skills to become better managers of forested land.
This past week, they traveled to Oak Mountain State Park and competed in the Annual 4-H State Forestry Invitational. Their hard work and dedication paid off, taking 1st Place Overall in the Junior Division. In four of the individual categories, they also took top honors:
Tree Identification: Toby Tucker, 1st Place
Topographic Map Assessment: Levi Johnson, 1st Place
Individual Overall: Toby Tucker, 1st Place
Individual Overall: Trey Tucker, 2nd Place
“I’m very proud of the kids, says Carbone, they put in a lot of time and effort in learning about the forest, and it’s not just about the competition, while that is great, they also have a very good beginning foundation in forest management. This will help not only them in the future, but the community they live in, if it has forested property. They can be in a leadership position to help ensure good management of the forests.” “I also want to thank Bibb County Soil and Water Conservation District, who sponsored our trip to the State Competition and provided new compasses for us. We really appreciate their support.”