Wildlife Habitat Education Program Handbook

 

Study materials

1.0. Descriptions of ecoregions in Arkansas (and Figure acknowledgments) 

1-1. Mississippi Alluvial Plain ecoregion description

2.0 Wildlife Identification

3.0 Wildlife Foods and Concepts

4.0 Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (Juniors Only)

5.0 Wildlife Educational Activity (Juniors Only)

6.0 Wildlife Management Practices 

7.0 Wildlife Management Plan (Seniors Only)

8.0 Oral Defense (Seniors Only) 

What is the Wildlife Habitat Education Program?

The National 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) is designed to teach youth the fundamentals of wildlife and fisheries science and management. Every year a national contest at a different location in the United States. Each state is invited to bring a team to compete. The National Invitational is open only to senior division 4‐H members. Junior division 4‐H members are eligible to compete at county and state events.

The Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) is based on the national program.  The Arkansas program uses components of the national program which represent our state.  This includes regions and wildlife species found in Arkansas.  Some wildlife species have been added to the state handbook because of their importance in Arkansas.

In this program, youth learn how management for wildlife includes managing land, water, and populations. The handbook and activities are focused not only on increasing knowledge in wildlife management, but also in developing skills to apply that knowledge. Additional benefits include development of life skills, such as decision‐making, leadership, written and oral communication, and meeting other young people and professionals from around the country who have interests in natural resources.

Arkansas WHEP is designed to train Junior and Senior 4‐Hers in stages.  Participants are expected to grow in their depth of understanding about wildlife and our natural resources.  The Junior Contest helps this age level develop fundamental knowledge to prepare them for competing as Seniors.  Juniors focus on identifying wildlife, understanding their habitat needs, interpreting satellite imagery, and management practices to improve habitat.  Senior contestants apply this knowledge when evaluating habitat and preparing a written wildlife management plan.

It is important to understand ecological processes as well as life requirements of various wildlife species before making management recommendations. The Ecoregions and Wildlife Species Descriptions sections of this handbook provide basic information related to wildlife ecology and management as well as the life requirements of various wildlife species.  

Wildlife managers must be able to inventory and evaluate an area as habitat for various wildlife species. They must be able to explain the condition of the area and identify the wildlife present to landowners and other interested individuals. Once the inventory and evaluation is completed, managers recommend the appropriate wildlife management practices to enhance habitat for certain wildlife species. In the Senior contest, Wildlife Management Practices provides experience with this decision‐making process. The written Wildlife Management Plan and Oral Defense for the written plan should explain management recommendations so others can understand and consider them. 

What are the different wildlife events at the contest? 

The contest is broken into different events. Contestants rotate through event stations and scores are totaled to determine winners. This handbook and website is a tool for learning about wildlife and habitat management by providing information about 4‐H wildlife events and associated study guides. The study guides are used to develop questions for the contest.

A study ecoregion is announced each year. Each ecoregion focuses on a limited number of wildlife species to learn. The state WHEP contest often moves to different location every year or two to broaden contestants’ understanding of the different ecoregions and wildlife species. Check the 4‐H Calendar of Events and your local county Extension office for details about registration fees, deadlines, and event dates.   

The Wildlife Identification event uses actual artifacts, replicas, photos, recordings or other clues representing species and their sign for contestants to identify. Only those species from the Urban and Wetland regions and the announced region are eligible for testing. Typically, there are about 40 ‐ 45 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians for contestants to identify. 

For Wildlife Foods and Concepts, contestants need to know the following about the species in the announced region:

  • food each wildlife species consumes (Juniors and Seniors);   
  • key wildlife management concepts and terms (Juniors and Seniors);
  • habitat needs of the wildlife species (Seniors); and 
  • descriptions of wildlife management practices for each species (Juniors and Seniors).

Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (Juniors only) is important for understanding when and where certain wildlife habitat practices need to be implemented.  Junior contestants may be asked to compare which habitat is best for a particular wildlife species.  For example, whitetailed deer prefer areas with a lot of edge habitat compared to an eastern fox squirrel, which prefers mature forests. Though not tested specifically about satellite images, Senior contestants may receive a satellite image as part of the scenario for writing a wildlife management plan. 

For the Educational Activity, Junior contestants attend an activity the day of the contest. 

  • One or more presentations about a wildlife topic will be given during the day of the contest.  To receive points, the contestant must attend the education activity and respond to questions on a scorecard. 
  • Contestants will be provided a scorecard at the education activity with one or more questions about the topic being presented. 
  • These questions may be multiple choice, true/false, short answer, or open ended.   
  • The contestant will turn in the scorecard to a contest official after the activity to receive points.  These will be added to the team score.  For teams with four contestants, the lowest individual score will be dropped when tabulating the team score. 

For the Wildlife Management Practices event, Juniors compete as a team and Seniors compete as individuals. Junior teams match up to 8 species from the announced region with the recommended practices, while Seniors work individually and evaluate habitat to determine whether or not a particular management practice is necessary. For example, Juniors will indicate “field border” is a management practice recommended for the wild turkey, whereas Seniors must also judge a piece of land and determine whether a field border is necessary to improve wild turkey habitat. 

These events are building blocks for preparing a Wildlife Management Plan. For Senior 4‐H members, preparing the plan is the culminating activity.  Seniors work as a team to write the plan based on a scenario having up to six wildlife species from the announced region and a piece of land to judge. Once habitat deficiencies are identified for these species, the team discusses when and where various wildlife management practices need to be implemented.

For Oral Reasons, Senior contestants answer questions from a panel of judges about their plan. The mark of a good contestant is being able to write and speak fluently using wildlife concepts and terminology in a meaningful way. 

Who can participate in which events? 

Wildlife Identification - open only to Cloverbuds who attend with their siblings

Wildlife Identification

Wildlife Foods and Concepts

Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images

Educational Activity

Wildlife Management Practices (Team)

Wildlife Identification

Wildlife Foods and Concepts

Wildlife Management Practices 

Wildlife Management Plan (Team)

Oral Defense 

 

Don't have a team? Youth can compete as inidividuals. If there are enough individuals who attend that day, the organizers will do their best to place youth in a mixed-county-team so everyone can compete! Building a team from different counties isn't allowed for various reasons. All it takes is 3 to make a team, so bring along some 4-H friends from your county!

How do I use this handbook?

Leaders and participants should first learn the concepts and terms. Then, locate and mark materials pertinent for a particular ecoregion.

  • Determine which ecoregion will be used for a local or state contest. Maps and ecoregion descriptions are in the Ecoregions section. The Tallgrass Prairie, Wetlands and Urban descriptions are applicable to all ecoregions.
  • Determine which wildlife species will be used. A list of species accompanies each ecoregion. There are many field guides and websites that provide photos and additional information for these wildlife species.
  • Research the selected species in the Wildlife Species Description section for the region. It is important to be able to identify species from different sources and be able to identify the male, female, adult, and juvenile of a species. Learning life history information about a species is critical to make appropriate management decisions.
  • Locate and mark the appropriate practices in the Wildlife Management Practices section. Learning how various wildlife management practices affect wildlife species is critical. Note that not all wildlife management practices listed in the manual are used in every ecoregion. Wildlife Foods and Concepts may require information from various portions of the handbook, including Wildlife Identification, Wildlife Management Practices, Wildlife Concepts and Terms, Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Imagery and Ecoregion sections.   

How do I prepare for the contest? 

Participants should read and understand the Wildlife Concepts and Terms and Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Imagery sections of the manual. Leaders should explain the concepts and terms and provide local examples to clarify any misunderstanding. This section is important because the activities require understanding of these concepts and terms.  Seniors should be able to interpret satellite images and use these terms and concepts in their presentations during the contest. Once the concepts are understood, leaders should review the appropriate regional information with participants. Leaders have the flexibility to use any of the information from the Ecoregions section they believe is appropriate. Leaders and participants should review plant succession processes, common plants, wildlife species and wildlife management practices. Specific information about habitat requirements and recommended wildlife management practices are found in the Wildlife Identification section. Many teams/participants find it helpful to mark those species included in the ecoregion they are judging so the information is more easily found when studying

  • Leaders can introduce participants to the contest activities through various exercises. 
  • Some make note cards or flash cards to help when studying. 
  • Conducting practice sessions at outdoor sites is helpful. Participants should get outside and find examples of the principles and practices discussed in this manual. Habitat requirements available for the species selected should be identified, as well as what features are missing. 
  • Leaders may use “quiz bowls” and question‐answer sessions to measure learning. 
  • Field guides and other teaching materials may be used to further learning. 
  • State wildlife agencies, state Extension wildlife specialists, and county Extension offices have information regarding the availability of learning materials. 
  • Collecting pictures or specimens of the species from several different sources will help with the identification portion of the test.

Following is a list of websites and agencies with personnel who work with wildlife.  Some have field offices in your area.  Contact them for assistance when practicing and preparing for this contest. However, be aware that these wildlife professionals may teach something that differs from the study materials, especially if they are not familiar with the contest or its content.  The study materials on this website will be the text (i.e., the final word) from which the contestants are evaluated.   

  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Arkansas Forestry Commission
  • Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission 
  • Audubon Delta
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • The Nature Conservancy – Arkansas Chapter
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service
  • University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 

What are the rules and regulations? 

A. A team consists of no less than three and no more than four official entrants who are 4H members in their county during the current year.    

  1.  Junior 4‐H members compete on Junior teams and Senior 4‐H members compete on Senior teams.  
  2. Mixed teams comprised of both Juniors and Seniors are not eligible.
  3. County teams are comprised of members from the same county.
  4. Individuals from different counties cannot register as a team.  

B. Competing individuals must be official entrants who are 4‐H members in their county during the current year.  An individual participant may also be a member of the county team.  Individuals who are unable to form a county team will be assigned to a team the day of the contest.  (See Letter E below.)

C. All individual and team members must be bona fide 4‐H Club members who are actively enrolled in a 4‐H project or activity.  

  1. 4‐H membership must be through one of the Cooperative Extension Service's 75 county 4‐H programs in Arkansas.  
  2. All individual and team members must declare a "home county" for membership in order to qualify for competition.  Members cannot compete for awards in more than one county during the contest year.
  3. A youth in 4‐H must complete enrollment on 4‐H Online including code of conduct and health forms, and receive county agent approval.
  4. Counties may require 4‐H members to attend club meetings or perform other activities to qualify as bona fide 4‐H members.

D. Age requirements:

  1. Junior individuals or team members are youth who in the contest year are age 9 as of January 1 until December 31 of the year they celebrate their 14th birthday.
  2. Senior individuals or team members are youth who in the contest year are age 14 as of January 1 until December 31 of the year they celebrate their 19th birthday.
  3. Cloverbuds are ages 5 to 9 who are enrolled in 4‐H.  Cloverbuds must have county Junior or Senior members registered to attend the WHEP state contest, and permission from their county 4‐H office to attend the state contest.

E. Individuals from counties who register Junior or Senior participants without a team will be assigned a team that will be made known the day of the state contest.  A fair and equitable process will be used to assign registered individuals to teams.

  1. Mixed county teams comprised of 3 or 4 individuals will be formed.
  2. Individuals may be assigned to county teams already having three contestants if necessary.  The team(s) receiving the extra member will be selected randomly.  

A. Every person must be enrolled and approved via 4‐H Online before attending the event.  This includes 4‐H youth, coaches, parents, siblings, and county Extension agents.

  1. Every person who attends an Arkansas 4‐H WHEP event must meet all county Extension requirements to participate.
  2. No “walk‐up” registrations are accepted.
  3. Children 4 years of age and younger are not required to register.

B. Registration is accepted using 4‐H Online.  Each person must register on or before the announced deadline.  A late registration fee will be charged for entries received after deadline.  No additional registrations will be accepted up to seven days before the contest.

  1. 4‐H members paying by check must provide payment to their county office promptly.  County offices are required to collect in advance and deposit all monies from individuals prior to the event.  
  2. A standard NSF Fee will be assessed on all checks that are returned due to insufficient funds.
  3. One check per county is due to the Forest Resources Unit at the State Office prior to the event.  4‐H members are not considered fully registered for the event until payment is received from their county office.  One check payable to UACES should be accompanied with 4‐H Online invoices to indicate amounts for individual payments.  No checks from individuals will be accepted at the State Office.

C. Once registered, county agents are responsible for notifying the state WHEP Coordinator of team assignments in counties where two or more teams are registered.  Team assignments must be conveyed in writing 15 or more days before the contest.  

  1. If notification of team assignments is not received by deadline, the WHEP Coordinator will assign county teams.  
  2. If absences result in a county team with fewer than three members on contest day, individuals from other counties may be assigned to the team.  

D. The refund policy is 75% refund for 15 or more working days before the contest, 50% refund for 11 to 14 working days before the contest, and no refund for cancellation 10 days or less before the event.  

  1. Any refund of participant fees will be disbursed in the form of a check issued by the University of Arkansas.  No electronic refunds will be issued for any participant fees that were originally paid by electronic means such as debit cards, credit cards or electronic checks.
  2. Exceptions to this refund policy will be based on personal or family illness or death in the immediate family. Participants must notify the county Extension office of cancellation, who will in turn notify the state WHEP Coordinator so alternatives can be considered. The county Extension office is responsible for notifying in writing the WHEP Coordinator of such absences.

A. All non‐contestant children who attend wildlife programs must be accompanied by an adult at all times.  After completing contest activities, 4‐H Junior/Senior contestants must be accompanied by an adult.  

B. Cloverbuds participating in the Wildlife Identification event can work independently or receive assistance from an adult or teen leader.  

  1. The Cloverbud event is not competitive.  Cloverbuds are provided this learning opportunity to help them prepare for participation as Juniors. 
  2. Cloverbuds must provide their own pencil and clipboard.
  3. Cloverbuds are encouraged to talk and ask questions.  We want them to learn and have an enjoyable experience.  
  4. Scorecards are turned into the station monitor with the name and county (printed clearly) to serve as a record of participation.  Their scorecards will not be scored.
  5. Cloverbuds need to be accompanied by an adult at all times while at WHEP.  

C. Junior and Senior contestants compete in individual and team activities.  Those who sign up as a team also compete as individuals.  Individuals who sign up without a county team will be assigned one.  

D. Junior contestants compete as:

  1. individuals on Wildlife Identification,  Foods and Concepts, Interpreting Satellite Images, and Educational Activity.  No talking is allowed. 
  2. teams on Wildlife Management Practices and will be allowed to talk with team members.  

E. Senior contestants compete as:

  1. individuals on Wildlife Identification, Foods and Concepts, and Wildlife Management Practices.  No talking is allowed.  
  2. teams on writing a Wildlife Management Plan and will be allowed to talk with team members.  
  3. individuals answering questions from a panel of judges, though preparation occurs while writing the wildlife management plan.  Talking with teammates to prepare for oral reasons is allowed.

F. The Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Advisory Committee plans and implements events and activities associated with the Arkansas 4‐H wildlife education program.

  1. The committee is comprised of the state WHEP coordinator, county agents, contest judges, and 4‐H volunteers.
  2. Each year, the committee selects a region for the contest.  Only species which occur within the announced region are used in the contest.  An exception are species listed for the Urban and Wetlands regions which are always included in Wildlife Identification.  If the announced region is Urban or Wetlands, an additional region will be selected.

G. An official scoring committee tabulates contest results.  All decisions of the scoring committee are final.  Interference with scoring by contestants, parents, leaders, coaches, or others associated with a team or individual will result in disqualification of that team or individual.

H. The team coach is the only individual who can issue protests about the contest.  All protests must be made to the Contest Coordinator (Protest Judge) at any time prior to the awards ceremony the day of the contest.  Protests disregarding these procedures will not be considered.  Protests and challenges will be decided by a review board appointed by the Protest Judge. Their decisions are final.

I.  A Code of Conduct form must be completed on 4‐H Online prior to participation and will be used as the official document for dealing with infractions by 4‐H members.  If a 4‐H member is found in violation of the Code of Conduct and receives discipline issued by a review board, his/her parents will be notified, and the 4‐H member may be sent home immediately at the parents' expense and may be suspended from participating in future 4‐H activities. 

  1. Each contestant must provide his or her own pencils and clipboard.  The clipboard should be clean without any writing other than the contestant’s name.  Pencil sharpeners are optional.  NOTE:  No extra pencils, pencil sharpeners, or clipboards will be available.  
  2. Senior contestants are to wear field clothing and close‐toed shoes to WHEP events. When the contestant’s safety is of concern, a lack of appropriate clothing could result in disqualification from a contest activity.  
  3. Contestants are not allowed to have electronic devices of any kind during the contest. This includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, iPads, iPods, calculators, etc.  Such devices must be left with coaches or chaperones during the contest.  A contestant found in possession of an electronic device can be disqualified immediately from the entire contest.
  4. Only Junior and Senior contestants and designated officials shall be within the perimeter of a Junior/Senior event. All adults, except contest officials, will be separated from contestants while the contest is in progress.  At the discretion of the station monitor, adults may be allowed to briefly enter the perimeter and take photos for 4‐H journal records.
  5. Absolutely no talking by contestants will be allowed during the contest, except when working on designated team activities or as permitted during the Educational Activity.
  6. Anyone caught cheating will be disqualified.
  7. Scorecards must be turned in to an official judge immediately after each event.
  8. The state WHEP contest will not be canceled because of inclement weather, unless lightening or heavy thunderstorms are in the immediate area.  Contestants should come prepared.  Bring rain gear and plastic to cover the clipboard.
  9. An official committee will score the contest and announce results. Their decision is final.

A. Cloverbuds who complete the Wildlife Identification event will receive a participation ribbon during an awards ceremony.

B. Junior and Senior Individuals achieving the highest accumulative scores will be recognized at an awards ceremony.

  1. Junior individuals achieving the highest accumulative score for Wildlife Identification, Foods and Concepts, Interpreting Satellite Images, and Educational Activity are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.
  2. Senior individuals achieving the highest accumulative score for Wildlife Identification, Foods and Concepts, and Wildlife Management Practices are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.  
  3. In case of a tie, individuals may be asked to answer additional tie‐breaker questions of any format.  If tie‐breaker questions are not used, the individual with the highest score in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the individual with the highest score in Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner. If a tie remains, the individual with the highest score in Satellite Images (Juniors) or Wildlife Management Practices (Seniors) will be declared the winner.  If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.  

C. Junior and Senior Teams achieving the highest accumulative scores will be recognized at an awards ceremony.

  1. Junior and Senior teams with the highest overall score are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.  
  2. The Junior team score will be the sum of three individual scores on the team plus the team score for Wildlife Management Practices.  If a team has a fourth member, the lowest individual score for each event (i.e., Wildlife Identification, Foods and Concepts, Satellite Images, and Educational Activity) will be dropped.  
  3. The Senior team score will be the sum of the three individual scores on the team, plus the team score for Wildlife Management Plan and the three scores for Oral Defense.  If a team has a fourth member, the lowest individual score for each event (i.e., Wildlife Identification, Foods and Concepts, Wildlife Management Practices) plus the lowest Oral Reasons score will be dropped.  
  4. In case of a tie, the team with the highest team score in Wildlife Management Practices (Juniors) or Wildlife Management Plan (Seniors) will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Satellite Images (Juniors) or Oral Reasons (Seniors) will be declared the winner.  If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.   

D.  The Senior Team with the highest overall team score that meets eligibility requirements will be offered the opportunity to represent Arkansas at the National 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program Invitational.  

National Eligibility

  • The team must be certified as the official state entry by the WHEP Coordinator as designated by the Associate Director – 4‐H Youth Development.  
  • Contestant must not have reached his or her 19th birthday as of January 1 of the year in which the National 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program Invitational is held.
  • All contestants must be members of Arkansas 4‐H during the year in which the National 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program Invitational is held.
  • The contestant, his or her county 4‐H staff member, and the Associate Director – 4‐H Youth Development must certify as follows on the application form:  "The contestant has not participated in post‐secondary coursework in judging or selection in the subject area of their national 4‐H competition, nor have they participated in training for a post‐secondary judging team in the subject area of their national 4‐H competition."  
  • To remain eligible to compete in a national 4‐H competitive event, a 4‐H member MAY NOT (a) work with a collegiate judging team; and/or (b) enroll in college coursework.  
  • The rules of the National 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program Invitational allow team members to enter only once.  Therefore, a team member who has previously entered and won “First Place ‐ Senior Team” at the Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program state contest and agrees to attend the national Invitational cannot re‐enter the Arkansas state contest.  However, such state winners can continue to participate in Arkansas WHEP as WHEP teen leaders.  

State Eligibility

  • The team coach must notify the 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program Coordinator in writing within 7 days after winning the state contest of the team’s intention to attend the Invitational.  If the winning team is ineligible, unable to attend, or no notification is received, the second place team will be given the opportunity to represent Arkansas at the Invitational.  After being notified, this team will have 7 days to notify the 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program coordinator of the team’s intention to attend the Invitational.  If the second place team is ineligible, unable to attend, or no notification received in 7 days, the third place team will be offered the opportunity, and so on, until a team agrees to attend the Invitational.
  • To be named a state winner in any category which provides a national trip, a 4‐H member must sign a written agreement or contract agreeing to attend the national competition as a member of the Arkansas 4‐H delegation.  Specifically, 4‐H members winning the state 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Contest must agree to participate in the national event as an Arkansas 4‐H delegate and must not have competed in a prior 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Invitational.  If the 4‐H member signs the agreement but does not attend, he/she will be expected to reimburse 4‐H for any cost incurred.
  • Although 4‐H members of the winning Senior team are no longer eligible for the national Invitational or state contest, they are invited to continue participating in the Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program as a WHEP teen leader.  Responsibilities include assisting with the practice session, state contest, and training the new state winning Senior team.

State team composition

  • In the event a team of three individuals wins the Arkansas state WHEP contest or a fourth team member is unable to participate, the team coach can request that the state WHEP coordinator seek a fourth team member.  
  • The state WHEP coordinator will review the list of individuals who placed in the state contest.  The state coordinator will contact the county agent of the senior 4‐Her with the highest ranking and who either participated as an individual (i.e., not affiliated with a team) or participated in WHEP for the last time (i.e., graduating from high school).  If the county agent is agreeable, the senior contestant will be contacted and offered the opportunity to become a fourth member of the team.  If that person refuses, invitations will continue until the list of eligible seniors is exhausted or time runs out.  4‐Hers who have the opportunity to participate on a county WHEP team are ineligible to become a fourth team member, unless there are extenuating circumstances and the county agent and team coach(es) are in unanimous agreement of his/her participation.
  • One team coach and one member of the Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Education Program Advisory Committee will accompany the winning Senior team to the Invitational, unless the committee forfeits this option.  In that instance, the county agent selects an assistant coach who will attend the contest.  Preferably, the gender of team coaches will reflect the team composition.  For teams with both male and female members, preferably one male and one female adult will accompany the team. d. Lodging rules and policy followed by the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4‐H Center apply to out‐of‐state trips.  No adult(s) can lodge in the same room with unrelated youth. Check policy guidelines for details. e. Coaches and assistant coaches must either be an employee of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service or have a current 4‐H Volunteer Application Form, CES‐643 on file in the county Extension office and qualify under the CES Youth Protection Policy.  Coaches and assistant coaches (Extension employees excluded) must be age 25 before chaperoning an out‐of‐state 4‐H trip.  Extension employees must have prior approval from their supervisor before attending.

Trip expenses

  • State contest funds, when available, are used to pay registration fees which include meals and lodging while at the Invitational.  
  • The team is responsible for travel expenses to and from the contest location and any extra expenses associated with registration fees.  Local fundraising is encouraged with the local county agent responsible for overseeing the fund account and management.  
  • Teams sometimes elect to arrive at the contest site location a day or two early and prepare for the contest by studying the surrounding habitat, visiting parks, and/or meeting experts in preparation for the contest.  State contest funds are not used for these additional expenses.  The Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program reserves the right not to pay extra activity fees.   

Youth who win the state WHEP contest and represent Arkansas at the 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program National Invitational are eligible to continue participating in WHEP as a Teen Leader.  Youth are invited to assist in a variety of ways, including: 

  • WHEP Practice Session by giving an overview of the program at the opening session and assisting with training sessions.
  • WHEP State Contest by leading groups through rotations, score room, and/or judging oral reasons. 
  • Fundraising activities for 4‐H Wildlife Programs.

Youth may continue serving as WHEP Teen Leaders and assisting with the program for the duration of their 4‐H career. Contact the WHEP Coordinator to learn more about opportunities and provide volunteer assistance for the WHEP program.

How are the events scored? 

This section describes how individual and team scores are calculated for the state contest of the Arkansas 4‐H Wildlife Habitat Education Program.  

Junior 4-H Contestants

Junior individuals achieving the highest accumulative score for the events listed below are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.    

  • Wildlife Identification (60 points maximum):  The total number of correct responses is added together for this score.
  • Wildlife Foods and Concepts (30 points maximum):  The total number of correct responses is added together for this score. 
  • Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (20 points maximum): The total number of correct responses is added together for this score. 
  • Educational Activity (10 points maximum): The total number of correct responses is added together for this score.

Tie breaker:  Judges who prepare contest activities for Wildlife Identification and Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be encouraged to add one or more tie‐breaker questions. Tie breakers can be of any format, including open response.  These questions will not count toward the total score and will not be graded unless a tie occurs.  If a tie occurs, tie breaker questions for Wildlife Identification and Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be added together and the highest score declared the winner.  

If a tied score remains after grading the tie‐breaker questions (or if no tie‐breaker questions are offered), the individual with the highest total score in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the individual with the highest total score in Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the individual with the highest total score in Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images will be declared the winner. If a tie remains, the individual with the highest team score in Wildlife Management Practices will be declared the winner.  If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.   

Team Achievement Junior teams with the highest overall score are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.  The team score will include Wildlife Habitat Practices, plus the three scores added together for Wildlife Identification, Foods & Concepts, Interpreting Satellite Images, and Educational Activity.  If a team has a fourth member, the lowest individual score will be dropped.  

The team score will be comprised of: 

  • Wildlife Identification (180 points maximum):  The three highest individual scores are added together.
  • Wildlife Foods and Concepts (90 points maximum):  The three highest individual scores are added together.   
  • Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (60 points maximum):  The three highest individual scores are added together. 
  • Wildlife Management Practices Team Event (200 points maximum).

Participants are given credit for:

  • putting an “X” in the appropriate boxes; and
  • leaving boxes blank where no “X” is indicated on the wildlife management practice chart.  

Answers will be incorrect if:

  • boxes that should be marked are left blank; and
  • boxes that should not be marked are marked.  

All boxes are counted in the scoring. For example, there are 184 possible correct answers, because the region has 23 wildlife management practices multiplied by 8 species on an answer sheet.  This activity is worth 200 points maximum, therefore a conversion factor will be used to make the score equivalent to a 200 point scale.  

Tie breaker:  In case of a tie, the team with the highest score in Wildlife Management Practices will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images will be declared the winner.  If a time remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Educational Activity will be declared a winner. If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.   

Senior 4-H Contestants

Senior individuals achieving the highest accumulative score for the events listed below are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.

  • Wildlife Identification (60 points maximum):  The total number of correct responses is added together for this score.
  • Wildlife Foods and Concepts (30 points maximum):  The total number of correct responses is added together for this score. 
  • On Site Recommendation of Wildlife Management Practices (100 points maximum).

Total Score = [(number of correct answers marked by the contestant minus number of incorrect answers) divided by total number of possible correct answers marked by specialist in charge] multiplied by 100.

The total number of possible correct answers is the number of Xs marked on the card by the specialist(s) in charge. For example, a WMP score sheet key includes 20 correct answers. The contestant marks 15 correct answers, but also marks (or doesn’t mark) 5 incorrect answers. The contestant’s score is calculated as [(15 – 5 = 10) / 20 = 0.50] X 100 = 50 points.

Tie breaker:  In case of a tie, the individual with the highest score in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the individual with the highest score in Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the individual with the highest score in Wildlife Management Practices will be declared the winner.  If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.   

Senior teams with the highest overall score are recognized.  First, second, third, fourth, and fifth places will be awarded.  The team score will be the sum of the three individual scores on the team, plus the team score for Wildlife Management Plan and three scores for Oral Defense.  If a team has a fourth member, the lowest individual score for each event (i.e., Wildlife Identification, Wildlife Foods and Concepts, Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images, Wildlife Management Practices, Oral Reasons) will be dropped.   

  • Wildlife Management Plan (250 points maximum):  One or more judges will use a scorecard to judge a team’s wildlife management plan.  The scores of the judges will be averaged to determine the team score for the plan.   
  • Oral Defense (50 maximum individual points; 150 maximum team points): One or more judges will use a scorecard to judge an individual’s defense of the wildlife management plan.  The scores of the judges will be averaged to determine the individual’s score for the oral defense.  The scorecard is 100 points maximum, therefore the contestant’s score will be divided by 2 to convert the score to a 50‐point scale.  For teams with four contestants, the lowest individual score will be dropped when tabulating the team score.

Tie breaker:  In case of a tie, the team with the highest score for the Wildlife Management Plan will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife Identification will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife Foods and Concepts will be declared the winner.  If a tie remains, the team with the highest accumulative individual scores in Wildlife 

Practices will be declared the winner. If the tie cannot be broken, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner

 

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