About half of Kentucky’s land surface is forest covered, most of it commercially valuable management, harvest and sale of both timber and non-timber products contribute significant to Kentucky’s economy It is important for the upcoming generation to know about how forests work, how they can be most appropriately managed, and how valuable they are to our lives both in their presence and in their products.
There are several opportunities for our youth to learn about the forested ecosystems that surround them through hands-on educational experiences. On Oct. 11, Terry Connors, University of Kentucky Agriculture Forestry Specialist, presented 4-H Forestry Field Days with Harlan County 4-H at Martins’ Fork Lake. Nine 4-H Teen Club members were taught and tested on the basics of tree identification, tree measurement, and the use of a compass and measuring distances by pacing.
The purpose of the Forestry Field Days is to provide the opportunity for 4-H Forestry Project members to:
*Develop leadership skills and work toward achieving character development and effective citizenship.
*Develop an appreciation of trees and their roles in our environment, whether in a yard, park, or forest.
*Develop appreciation of the need and importance of conserving woodland as a source of products and services necessary for quality living.
*Acquire information and understanding of practical forestry skills in forest management and utilization of forest products.
Although these include competition, they are offered as an extension forestry educational experience and provide an opportunity for exploration of the broad aspects of forestry. The setting, contests, leadership and supplementary events are all directed to this end.
According to Raymond Cox, 4-H Agent/Youth Development, “These students did an exceptional job and we plan to get more students involved in the Kentucky 4-H Forestry Project.”
Overall winners were awarded ribbons by Terry Conners from the three above categories. In the Tree Identification category, Destanie Hatmaker placed first, Cassie Woodard placed second and Dannah Saylor and Allison Johnson tied for third. In the Tree Measurement category, Danessa Saylor placed first, Destanie Hatmaker and Allison Johnson tied for second and Dannah Saylor placed third. In the Compass and Pacing contest Danielle Saylor placed first, Danessa Saylor placed second and Dakota Saylor placed third.
Overall Competition winners were: Danessa Saylor, first; Destanie Hatmaker, second; Danielle Saylor, third, Kassie Woodard, fourth; Dannah Saylor, fifth; Allison Johnson, sixth; Amber Poblette, seventh; Allison Cook, eighth; and Dakota Saylor, ninth.
Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin