Welcome to the 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program or WHEP! 

Watch this WHEP introduction video to get started!

Our announced region for 2022 contests and events is Wetland. Wildlife ID will include species listed in this region, as well as species from Urban and Eastern Deciduous Forest ecoregions.


  • Join the "Arkansas 4-H Wildlife" Facebook private group. Simply answer three questions verifying who you are and your agreement to follow 4-H rules of conduct.
  • Wonders of Waterfowl Workshop (TENTATIVE)- Saturday, February 11, 2023 @ Five Oaks Lodge in Humphrey. 
  • Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) State Contest (TENTATIVE) – Friday, April 28, 2023 @ Five Oaks Lodge in Humphrey.
  • 4-H Wildlife O-Rama - Keep you and your team tuned up for WHEP by participating  in District and State Wildlife O-Ramas this summer. The Study Materials for the Wildlife O-Rama are available to assist with preparing for this event.
  • 4-H Food Plot Project - Get outdoors to learn about wildlife! Youth receive food plot seeds and educational magazines for this project. Complete a project book, video, and site visit by a county agent to compete for recognition and prizes. Deadline for registration is July 1.
  • National Invitational - The winning team is eligible to represent Arkansas at the national WHEP contest. The state office will make every attempt to pay registration fees, and the winning team is responsible for travel expenses. Check the national WHEP website for updates.

WHEP Study Guide (HANDBOOK) 

  • The WHEP Study Guide for Wetlands   is available for download. (The file is very large and may be slow to download). The study guide can be downloaded and/or printed by activity under the tabs listed below.
  • The WHEP Study Guide can be ordered through the UA Cooperative Extension Service's Print Shop. Order by contacting your County Extension Office. The county office will send a request form to the Print Shop. Costs vary from year to year depending on the number of pages. Contact your County Extension Office for exact pricing.

Handbook in Sections

1.0 Introduction

1-1 Cover page, overview, rules & scoring

1-2. Descriptions of ecoregions in Arkansas (and Figure acknowledgments) 

1-3. Wetlands ecoregion description

2.0 Wildlife Identification

2-1. Event Description

2-2. Study Materials: Species Descriptions

Wetland Species  

Urban Species  

Eastern Deciduous Forest

2-3. Contestant's Scorecard 

Wetlands, Urban, and Eastern Deciduous Species Scorecard 

3.0 Wildlife Foods and Concepts

3-1. Event Description

3-2. Study Materials

Wildlife Management Concepts & Terms

Wildlife Foods Definitions

Glossary of Terms

3-3. Scorecard

        Blank scorecard

        Examples from a previous contest:

                Junior Concepts and Terms (questions)

                Junior Concepts and Terms (answer key)

                Senior Concepts and Terms (questions)

                Senior Concepts and Terms (answer key)

4.0 Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (Juniors only)

4-1. Event Description

4-2. Study Material: Interpreting Satellite Images

        Word Bank


4-3. Scorecard

        Scorecard example

5.0 Wildlife Educational Activity (Juniors only)

5-1. Event Description

5-2. Scorecard: A scorecard will be provided at this event. No advance studying is necessary for this activity. Make sure you complete the scorecard as directed to receive maximum points. 

Scorecard example: Tallgrass Prairie (2019)   All answers were provided as part of the presentation. 

6.0 Wildlife Management Practices

6-1. Event Description

6-2. Study Materials Descriptions of WMPs

6.3 Study Chart: Wetlands

6-4. Scorecard (up to 5 species)

        Wetlands in WORD (blank scorecard)

        Wetlands in PDF (blank scorecard)

7.0 Wildlife Management Plan (Seniors only)

7-1. Event Description

7-2. Study Guide

7-3. Judge's Scorecard

8.0 Oral Defense (Seniors only)

8-1. Event Description

8-2. Study Guide

8-3. Judge's Scorecard

WHEP Practice Resources

Cornell Lab of Ornithology video series
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Urban species (links to each bird): American robin, common nighthawk, eastern bluebird, European starling, house finch, house sparrow, house wren, northern flicker, peregrine falcon, rock pigeon, ruby-throated hummingbird, song sparrow.

Wetland species (links to each bird): American bittern, Canada goose, mallard, northern pintail, redhead, spotted sandpiper, Virginia rail, Wilson’s snipe.

Eastern deciduous species (find these at the All About Birds website)

Wildlife Identification

Skulls, pelts & eggs PDF

Scat & tracks PDF

Reptiles, Amphibians & Fish

Herps and Fishes video by Lori Monday, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (2021)

Wildlife Habitat Practices

Native Plants and Pollinators video by Virginia McDaniel, U.S. Forest Service (2021)

Writing a Wildlife Management Plan

Wildlife Management Plan Help Sheet (link)

WHEP State Contest

The state contest recognizes those youth who excel in their understanding of wildlife and habitat management.  This one-day event typically starts at 9:30am and concludes with the awards ceremony at approximately 3:00pm. Educational and/or recreational opportunities are available to non-contestants (e.g., parents, coaches, siblings) and Juniors who complete the contest after lunch. A different contest location is selected each year to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the different ecoregions and habitats in our state.

Achievement is accessed through competitive scores in contest events.  Information about each of these events is available in the study guide, also called the handbook. The Arkansas handbook closely follows the national invitational handbook. The handbook is designed to provide uniformity for state and national contests.  Recommended management practices are presented in a generalized way using representative species occupying major habitats.  The reality of wildlife habitat management is often more complex.  Emerging knowledge about wildlife and management, financial and political issues and technological improvements affect how habitat is best managed and restored. 

The winning team of 4-H Seniors is eligible to represent Arkansas at the national WHEP Invitational and compete against other state teams for recognition and awards.

What to Bring

Each contestant needs to bring an unmarked clipboard and several pencils with erasers.  (Pencil sharpeners are not available.)  The contest will be held rain or shine, so dress according to the weather and be prepared to be outdoors.  Wear close-toed shoes.  Sunscreen, hats, rain gear, and insect repellent are advisable. Electronic devices including cell phones, calculators, and computer watches are not allowed.

Cloverbuds. With county approval, Cloverbuds can learn about wildlife while Juniors and Seniors are competing -- if your county is already bringing Juniors and Seniors to the competition.  Supervised Cloverbuds will be given time typically in the morning to complete a Wildlife Identification station.  Adults are encouraged to help Cloverbuds as much as needed.  This is an educational opportunity offered to these youngsters, as they represent the future of the WHEP program.  

Additional Resources

 Scenarios for past Wildlife Management Plans in Arkansas:

2013 Scenario for Senior Wildlife Management Plan

2014 Scenario for Senior Wildlife Management Plan

2015 Scenario for Senior Wildlife Management Plan

2016 Scenario for Senior Wildlife Management Plan

Wildlife Kits.  Educational wildlife kits are available on loan to County 4-H agents. The following kits are available: (1) furs and skulls, (2) plastic tracks, scat, & egg replicas, (3) plastic molds to make plaster casts of tracks, and (4) a set of 10 binoculars for birdwatching. Kits are picked up from Forest Resources in the Extension state office (Little Rock). From January - April, the first and second kits need to be returned within two weeks when these contest materials are in high demand. County agents are responsible for reserving and returning neatly-organized kits. To reserve kits, email Becky McPeake, RMcPeake@uada.edu.

Intermediate/Advanced 4-H Project Books

4-H Wildlife Project: The Wildlife Ecologist 

4-H Wildlife Project:  The Wildlife Manager

For Sale Publications

Wildlife Science Curriculum & WHEP resources (Purdue Extension's The Education Store)

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Calendar of Events

4-H Events Calendar and Reference Guide

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Your gift will help support the 4-H programs of your choice

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Join Arkansas 4-H

4-H Online Enrollment and Resources