Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management
Career Development Event at the Rick Thompson Ranch
Story by Randy Henry
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) co-sponsored the 11th annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Career Development Event (CDE) held on April 12, 2011, at the Rick Thompson Ranch in Jack County, Texas.
The regional contest was sponsored in conjunction with the Texas Wildlife Alliance for Youth (WAY). The programï¿½s objective is to support and promote proper management and conservation of wildlife and natural resources.
A total of 51 teams with 208 students competed in this yearï¿½s contest, which was the largest student attendance in the eventï¿½s history.
Participation in the regional contest requires endorsement from the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) where the competing team is located, and is in collaboration with the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H Clubs with one or more of the SWCDs.
ï¿½Last year, we broke a record for students participating in the 10th annual regional contest, and it happened again in our eleventh year,ï¿½ said Carolann Corado, manager for Jack SWCD in Bowie, Texas. ï¿½Itï¿½s really great to see so many students competing, and we look forward to even a larger student attendance in future contests. This yearï¿½s contest was very competitive.ï¿½
WAY is a wildlife and management career development program for FFA and 4-H Club youth in Texas. High school students learn management skills, and are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge. The students contemplate several areas in the competition, which are used in all regional and state contests. These areas include plant identification, plant preferences, biological facts, habitat evaluation and management, fish and game laws, safety, techniques, as well as compass and pacing.
The regional winners included FFA Texas areas four, five and eight, and many 4-H Club teams competing against each other. Following the regional contest at the Rick Thompson Ranch, the winning teams will be going to the state competition at the MT7 Ranch in Breckinridge, Texas, on May 10, 2011.
Overall, the top three regional FFA team winners were Jacksboro (387 points), Lingleville (353 points) and Brownwood (348 points) Independent School Districts respectively, along with Thomas Sykes (Brownwood) taking first place as the individual winner with a total of 136 points. The 4-H Clubï¿½s top three regional team winners included McLennan Co. (307 points), Shackelford Co. (220 points), and Montague Co. (197 points). Brady Skinner from McLennan Co. won the individual competition with 112 points.
FFA Texas areas four, five and eight team winners were Jacksboro (387 points), Plano (309 points), and Axtell (323 points). The FFA Texas individual winners included Thomas Sykes (Area 4/Brownwood ï¿½ 133 points), Thomas Densmore (Area 5/Brock ï¿½ 106 points), and Casey Fedro (Area 8/Axtell ï¿½ 122 points).
Sponsors teaming up to support the regional contest included NRCS, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and personnel from several SWCDs. The SWCDs included the Lower Clear Fork of the Brazos, Upper Sabine, Cross Timbers, Young, Jack, Fannin County, Ellis-Prairie, Parker County, Palo Pinto, Upper Elm-Red, Denton County, Little River-San Gabriel, Throckmorton, McLennan County, Wise, and Limestone Falls.
As one student, foreground, gets his bearing during the compass and pacing course at the 11th annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreational Management CDE held on April 12th at the Rick Thompson Ranch in Jack County, Texas, another contestant reads her assigned coordinates before stepping up to the starting position during the competition.
Matt Gregory, right, NRCS district conservationist in Jacksboro, hands out assignments for students to coordinate at the compass and pacing station during the 11th annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreational Management CDE at the Rick Thompson Ranch on April 12th in Jack County, Texas. Each station allowed students 20 minutes to complete the course and hand in their results for scoring.
With a record-setting number of participants registered for this yearï¿½s Region 5 Wildlife and Recreational Management CDE, the stations were crowded as this one at the techniques station. Last yearï¿½s registration brought 49 teams with 189 students that remained the record attendance until 51 teams with 208 students took on the competition this year.
While getting out of the sun and heat, this group of students found some shade while answering test questions at the biological facts station during the 11th annual Wildlife and Recreational Management CDE competition on April 12th at the Rick Thompson Ranch in Jack County, Texas.
The last station of the 11th annual Wildlife and Recreation Management CDE was plant identification, and these three students found it challenging since they only had 30 seconds to identify each plant species marked by the flag along the course.