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Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP)

The National 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) teaches youth the fundamentals of wildlife ecology and management. Wildlife has great appeal for young people and can be a mechanism to further involve them in appreciating, understanding, and conserving our nation’s natural resources.

Recent research has shown that when young people spend time in the outdoors, they benefit mentally as well as physically. When these benefits are coupled with essential life skills such as oral and written communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and decision making—skills WHEP develops—you’ll understand why this conservation education program has won national awards!

Components of WHEP

Wildlife Identification and Knowledge

  • Understand basic ecological concepts
  • Identify wildlife and fish species
  • Demonstrate knowledge of wildlife biology and behavior (habitat and food needs)

Wildlife Management Practices

  • Evaluate habitat
  • Make land management recommendations

Management Plan

  • Develop, write, and present a wildlife management plan


How to Get Started

To get started in WHEP, contact your county Extension office and ask for information about the WHEP program.

Since this is a 4-H program, all participants in WHEP will need to be 4-H members to be eligible to compete in WHEP contests. 4-H’ers can participate as individuals or in teams of three or four; two teams per county are allowed. Contests are held during Project Achievement Days for junior 4-H’ers (ages 8 - 14) and during Club Congress for senior 4-H’ers (ages 14 - 18). Your Extension agent can provide these dates and tell you about any training sessions to help you learn more about implementing the program. These sessions are beneficial but not crucial to forming a successful WHEP team.

Once you have this information, get a copy of the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program: A Manual for Mississippi; recruit young people interested in conservation, go outdoors, and start studying and having fun.

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Publications

News

Nine-banded armadillo
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife September 2, 2021

Armadillos are one of the most unique looking critters out there. These animals are covered in silver, armor-like plates that protect them The word “armadillo” actually means “little armored one” in Spanish!  

Green Frog.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife July 26, 2021

Is it a frog or a toad? If you stumbled on this amphibian, would you be able to call it by its correct name? Many people believe that frogs and toads are two different types of amphibians. Technically, a toad is a type of frog! At first glance, they may appear very similar but there are a few differences that will help distinguish one from the other. 

Blue Jay with nut in mouth.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife July 8, 2021

Birdwatching is a favorite pastime of many Mississippians. My grandmother had a bird book she wore out over the years. I fondly remember sitting on the porch swing with her as a child trying to identify the different birds that frequented her house. Sometimes we were successful in finding the bird, other times not so much. 

A hand holds a brown snake.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education June 18, 2021

Young people with an interest in the outdoors have a chance to engage with nature in Mississippi State University’s 2021 Conservation Camp hosted July 19-23. The weeklong day camp is for rising sixth- through ninth-graders. It is based on the MSU campus, and features wildlife science and outdoor exploration. A $100 fee includes lunch each day and all activity costs. The camp extends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Filed Under: 4-H, STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Wildlife Youth Education June 4, 2021

4-H’ers can participate in an upcoming camp and have fun while learning about environmental sciences. The 4-H E.A.R.T.H. Camp, or Environmental Awareness through Recreation, Technology and Health, will be held Aug. 2-4 at Lake Tiak-O’Khata in Winston County.

Success Stories

A white sign with dark green lettering reads, “Monarch Waystation: This site provides milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation. Create, Conserve, & Protect Monarch Habitats.”
Wildlife Youth Education, About Extension, Master Gardener, Insects, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, The Story of Plants and People, Vegetable Gardens, Urban and Community Forestry, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises
Volume 4 Number 2

See what's new in Extension: a new monarch garden, a storytelling series will begin, the Garden Expo highlights Extension education, and Keep America Beautiful recognizes MSU Extension.

A blonde woman with glasses, wearing a yellow shirt and a motley scarf, stands smiling on a sidewalk in front of trees beside a sign marking “UF University IFAS Extension State Headquarters Florida 4-H Youth Development.”

4-H

4-H, 4-H Forestry, Health and Wellness, Join 4-H, Leadership, Wildlife Youth Education, Youth Projects
Volume 4 Number 2

Joy Cantrell Jordan, 4-H alumna, shares her memories and other thoughts about Mississippi 4-H.

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