Eight Dawson County 4-H members recently competed in the Northeast District Forestry Judging contest held at the Wahsega 4-H Center in Lumpkin County.
The contest consisted of four parts: Tree identification, disease and insect identification, tree volume estimation and orienteering, which is measuring distance by pace and compass.
Bretney Quarles and Autumn Callahan of Dawson County High, Kristin Green, Katelyn Hardegree, Emily Wright, Clarissa Quarles and Anothony Corcoran of Dawson County Middle and Allison Gilbert of Riverview Middle took part in the contest, which featured more than 150 4-H members from regional counties.
"I love being there with my friends, and of course, I loved meeting new people," Bretney Quarles said. "Probably the hardest thing about the competition was knowing the tree diseases; it was a great experience though."
Green agreed that identifying the diseases was the most difficult part of the competition, but said she also enjoyed making new friends within the organization.
For several weeks leading up to the event, team members attended practices to learn how to identify more than 40 trees found in Georgia.
4-H agent Ian Cowie said that students learn by doing to prepare for the forestry judging contest.
"4-H members learn life skills like decision making, teamwork and problem solving," Cowie said.
4-H Program Assistant Jennifer Messer said the students enjoyed both the preparation and the event.
"Sure, it was a competition, and we wanted our students to do well, but the important thing was that they were able to have fun, meet different people and learn something new," Messer said. "Which is exactly what they did."
To learn more about the 4-H program, contact the Dawson County Extension Service at (706) 265-2442.
Riverview Middle student Allison Gilbert contributed to this story.