Each spring, hundreds of students from across east Texas gather in the forest outside of Nacogdoches to test their skills in forestry and natural resources at the Texas State Woodland Clinic. This year was no exception, as 62 teams made up of 250 FFA and 4-H students competed in April for top honors which included a $1,000 scholarship for the high scoring individual. The scholarship was sponsored by the Texas Forest Landowners Council and the Texas Forestry Association. Students were tested on 13 topics including tree and wood identification, tree measurements and volume, wood products, site productivity, compass and pacing, and forest management applications. The participating teams qualified to enter the annual competition through previous forestry competitions held at the local level which are sponsored by the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Forest Service, and other partners. Volunteers from these agencies and partners also helped handle the set-up, delivery, and scoring of participants at each local event, including the State Woodland Clinic.
The 2014 Texas State Woodland Clinic first place FFA team was Dayton #2. Second and third place went to Central Heights FFA #1 and Simms FFA, respectively. The first place 4-H team was Hope 4-H. Huntington 4-H #2 and Huntington 4-H #1 teams were the second and third place finishers. This year’s high point individual went to Matthew Kelley of Dayton FFA #2. These top three ranked teams from FFA and 4H qualified to participate in the Southern Regional Woodland Clinic which was held May 2nd at Lake D’Arbonne State Park in Louisiana. Texas teams shined there as well, with Dustin Esmond from Dayton taking the highest score, Central Heights FFA placing 2nd in the FFA division, and Hope 4-H and Huntington 4-H placing in the top four 4-H division.