Forestry and Natural Resources are fascinating to study for young people. Forests have a natural attraction for youngsters, and the aim of this site is to provide ideas and resources to aid 4-H agents, young people, and teachers in exploring forests, forestry, and forest products. There is a wealth of forestry information and resources available. So let's get started!
One easy way for youngsters to learn about forests is by doing projects as part of a local 4-H club. 4-H Forestry is active in Mississippi with project publications and competitive events from the county level to state and nationals. 4-H foresters learn about tree biology, forest management systems, how to plant trees, the size and value of our forests, and lots more. So you want to join 4-H? There's a 4-H club near you, so contact your local county 4-H agent to join! Just want to explore 4-H in Mississippi? Jump to the 4-H home page and take a look for yourself.
The "Forests of Fun" national 4-H forestry curriculum (released in 2005) is the first for Forestry since 1979. Foresters, educators, curriculum specialists, county Extension agents, and volunteer leaders from around the country collaborated to create the new curriculum.
The "Forests of Fun" curriculum enables young people to gain a life-long appreciation of forests as sources of multiple benefits for society. These publications and the supporting website provide research-based information and activities to guide volunteer leaders and stimulate children's natural interest in forests.
The curriculum is available from your state 4-H office and from the 4-H Cooperative Curriculum System (4-HCCS) through its website at www.n4hccs.org.
Annually, about 86,000 Mississippi youngsters are involved in 4-H activities, many of them in conservation and natural resources clubs. Each year, competitions are held in forestry. Here's how it works:
- 4-H county clubs are actively working on forestry projects and learning about forests throughout the year. They are making leaf collections, practicing tree measurement, learning about tree biology and forest management practices, collecting seeds, growing seedlings, collecting publications, and lots more.
- In the spring, counties hold their local 4-H forestry competitions to see which teams of 4-H foresters will move on to higher competition. Junior 4-H'ers (8–13 years old) advance to the district competitions, and senior 4-H'ers (14–19 years old) advance to the state forestry competition. They compete in tree identification, tree measurement, forest insect and disease identification, and forestry knowledge.
- In June, state and district forestry competitions are held and winners determined. The senior state champion 4-H Forestry team wins the Acorn Trophy and the right to represent Mississippi at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational held in August at Jackson's Mill State 4-H Conference Center in West Virginia. This is an all-expenses-paid trip for the champion team and coaches.
- After the competitions, 4-H'ers go back to project work, and the cycle starts again.
Ray Henderson’s love for the outdoors began in his youth with learning by doing in 4-H Forestry. He won the State 4-H Congress competition, went to nationals, and placed fifth. After he aged out of the youth development program, he pursued a career with the U.S. Forest Service, and he volunteered in the 1990s as a coach for a few 4-H Forestry teams in Wayne and Greene Counties.
Patrick Lemoine has been guiding young people for nearly two decades. As a volunteer with the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H youth development program, he’s coached numerous 4-H forestry, poultry, and livestock teams to victories. But his 2019 Rankin County 4-H forestry team’s second-place win at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational in August was one of his proudest accomplishments.
Harry Dendy of Clinton first joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program in Chickasaw County 62 years ago, when he was 10 years old. Forestry was his main project area.
Joy Cantrell Jordan, 4-H alumna, shares her memories and other thoughts about Mississippi 4-H.