UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Pennsylvania was one of 11 states that competed in the 42nd annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational, held July 24-27 at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia.
The 4-H’ers representing Penn State Extension were Garrett Franck, of Union County, Lily Palfrey, of Indiana County, and Brandon Shrodo, of Lycoming County. Paul McFarland Jr., extension education program specialist, coached the team.
“The invitational was a well-balanced mix of education, competition and fun, all focused on developing an appreciation for the importance of conserving forestland as a source of products, benefits and services necessary for quality living,” McFarland Jr. said. “4-H’ers had the opportunity to meet other members from throughout the country who have similar interests in environmental science, as well as explore various career opportunities in the field of forestry and meet professionals in those careers.”
At the invitational, 4-H members competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories. Events included tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, forest evaluation, a forestry bowl, and a written forestry exam.
“I am very proud to have had Lily, Garrett and Brandon represent Pennsylvania at this event,” McFarland Jr. said. “Watching them try new things with a constant positive attitude and make new friends was great to see. It was an incredible experience for them, and I am excited to continue to bring teams there in the future.”
Teams from Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida placed first, second and third, respectively. 4-H’ers from Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah also competed.
Mississippi’s Karolina Heathcock earned the highest overall score in the contest. The second-place individual was Ashlyn Henderson from Mississippi. Caden Conley from Louisiana secured third place.
The Joe Yeager “Spirit of the Invitational” award was presented to Keller Stinson from Utah. This award recognizes an outstanding 4-H contestant who takes initiative and is eager to lead academic and social situations.
The Tommy and Susan Futral Inspiration of the Invitational Award was presented to the Oklahoma team consisting of McKayla Brents, Autumn Diggs, Samantha Scott, Stacey Scott and coach Alicia Brents.
This event is sponsored by Farm Credit, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., West Virginia University Extension Service, American Forest Foundation, Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals, Southern Regional Extension Forestry, and Black Diamond Resource Conservation and Development Council.
Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a nonformal educational youth-development program of the United States Department of Agriculture that helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become capable, caring and contributing citizens. To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/
–Penn State Extension