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Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management

Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest at Rocosa Ridge Ranch

Story by Randy Henry

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) co-sponsored the tenth annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest, which was held on April 13, 2010, at the Rocosa Ridge Ranch near Meridian, Texas.

The contest was sponsored in conjunction with the Texas Wildlife Alliance for Youth (WAY), for the program�s objective is to support and promote proper management and conservation of wildlife and natural resources. A total of 189 students competed in this year�s contest that had 49 teams from schools within the region.

Plus, 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.

�I am fortunate to be the steward of the ranch, and I feel it�s my responsibility to share the ranch�s qualities and history with others,� said Bruce Berg, owner of Rocosa Ridge Ranch. �I was active in FFA and 4-H, and remember others sharing their time and farms so I could participate in livestock and diary judging contests.�

WAY is a wildlife and management career development event 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 nine 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 wildlife contest in Region 5 had more teams and students this year, and was the largest contest we ever had in ten years,� said Carolann Corado, Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) manager in Bowie, Texas.

�Rocosa Ridge Ranch was a wonderful place to have the wildlife contest, and we can�t thank all the sponsors enough that helped make this a huge success for the region and all the students,� she added.

The regional winners included FFA Texas areas 4, 5 and 8, and 4-H Club teams competing against each other. After this regional contest, Region 5 ended up with 17 teams that will be going to the state competition in Nacogdoches, Texas, on May 11, 2010.

Overall, the top three regional FFA team winners were Cleburne (340 points), Jacksboro (330 points) and Axtell (321 points) Independent School Districts respectively, along with Laura Procter (Lingleville) taking first place as the individual winner with a total of 133 points. The 4-H Club top three team winners included McLennan Co. (288 points), Montague Co. (221 points), and Hill Co. (179 points), including Ronald Fedro from McLennan Co. winning the individual competition with 104 points.

In the respective FFA Texas areas 4, 5 and 8, the team winners were Jacksboro (330 points), Bowie (274 points), and Cleburne (340 points). The individual winners included Laura Procter (Lingleville � 133 points), Jared Hall (Arlington � 103 points), and Clint Moore (Celburne � 119 points).

Sponsors teaming up for 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 supporting the students. The SWCDs included Wichita, The Lower Clear Fork of the Brazos, Upper Sabine, Mills Co., Upper Leon, Cross Timbers, Young, Jack, Fannin Co., Ellis-Prairie, Parker Co., Palo Pinto, Upper Elm-Red, Denton Co., and Central Colorado.

Plant Identification

Compass and Pacing

While competing for team and individual points during the 2010 Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest at Rocosa Ridge Ranch on April 13th, one group of students concentrated on the plants selected for the Plant Preference and Identification portion that allows only 45 seconds per station to finish.

A student takes a compass reading at the starting line while competing in the Compass and Pacing portion of the Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest, which was held at the Rocosa Ridge Ranch near Meridian, Texas, on April 13th.

Techniques The Bergs and Ed Reed

Students worked against the clock at the Techniques station to identify various wildlife samples, including the task of identifying and measuring skulls, appendages, and other parts of animals during the tenth annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest at Rocosa Ridge Ranch in Meridian, Texas.

Bruce and Barbara Berg, left and center, owners of Rocosa Ridge Ranch and wildlife contest hosts, talk with Ed Reed, right, NRCS program liaison and chair for Region 5 of the Texas Wildlife Alliance for Youth during the largest student competition in the history of the contest. This year, the contest registered 189 students with 49 teams competing to go to the state competition in Nacogdoches, Texas, on May 11, 2010.

Group of Students

More students than ever registered for the tenth annual Region 5 Wildlife and Recreation Management Contest held on April 13th at the Rocosa Ridge Ranch near Meridian, Texas. There were 49 teams with 189 students competing this year to go to the state competition in Nacogdoches on May 11, 2010.