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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Marion County 4-H team wins national forestry competition

The Marion County 4-H team won a national forestry competition that was held earlier this week in West Virginia.

The National 4-H Forestry Invitational, which is considered the national championship of 4-H forestry, has been held every year since 1980. Teams of 4-H foresters from across the United States make the annual trip to Weston, West Virginia to meet and compete.

National 4 H Forestry Invitational 2023 in west virginia
Competitors arriving at the site of the 2023 National 4-H Forestry Invitational in Weston, West Virginia (Photo: National 4-H Forestry Invitational)

The purpose of the National Forestry Invitational is to develop an appreciation for the importance of conserving forestland. The 4-H foresters who take part in the competition learn citizenship, leadership, and practical forest management skills to help better prepare them to own forestland or deal with environmental issues in the future.

National 4 H Forestry Invitational 2023 participants taking part in the written exam
4-H foresters preparing to take part in the written exam portion of the competition (Photo: National 4-H Forestry Invitational)

Over a span of three days, Marion County’s 4-Hers competed in multiple segments of the industry, including tree measurement and identification, forest evaluation, compass orienting, topographic map use, forest insect and disease identification, a quiz bowl, and a forestry written exam. Thanks to the commitment and dedication from the 4-H foresters and club volunteers, Marion County’s programs reached the top of the rankings.

2023 National 4 H Forestry Invitational champs
The 2023 4-H National Forestry Champs (from left to right): Jerimiah Caswell, Caroline Cassidy, Abree Perryman, and Lydia Sharp (Photo: National 4-H Forestry Invitational)

“We’re grateful for our local partnerships that helped our teams, such as the University of Florida’s School of Forest, Fisheries, & Geomatics Sciences,” stated Lynn Nobles, director of UF/IFAS Marion County Extension Services.

Founded in 1902, Marion County 4-H is a local branch of the national organization focused on youth development and education. The 4-H mission is to create supportive environments for youth between the ages of 5 and 18 to reach their fullest potential.

The Florida 4-H has reported higher levels of academic competence, better grades, and elevated levels of engagement at schools for their membership of 220,000-plus youth.

Marion County hosts nearly 40 clubs, which benefit students through programs in leadership, citizenship, agriculture, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

For more information on membership, upcoming programs, and competitions, click here or contact Marion County’s 4-H office at 352-671-8404.

To learn more about the competition, visit the National 4-H Forestry Invitational website.