Welcome to the 4-H Forest Ecology Contest Website!
Each year, 4-H youth from across the state convene near Gainesville, Florida to test their knowledge of Florida's forests. A series of contest stations enable youth to test their identification skills, compass skills, and knowledge of forest ecosystems. Youth will be asked to identify plants from samples, identify insect and disease damage from samples, identify wildlife on a forest walk, follow a compass course, and answer multiple-choice questions on ecology and topography (maps). Seniors will also be tested on tree measurement and compete in a quiz bowl.
The 2017 4-H Forest Ecology Contest
The next Forest Ecology contest will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Austin Cary Forest Conference Center just outside of Gainesville. The featured ecosystems will be upland hardwoods and mangrove forests. For full information, be sure to read the Welcome Letter from Dr. Martha Monroe in the UF School of Forest Resources & Conservation.
If it's been a few years since your team competed in the Forest Ecology Contest, you might want to look over this list of changes.
Changes that started with the 2016 4-H Forest Ecology Contest:
- Five new species of reptiles and amphibians have been added to Wildlife on the Forest Hike: Cuban brown anole, Green anole, Green Treefrog, Southern Leopard Frog, and Southern Toad.
- At the Trees of Florida station, Seniors will need to write out the appropriate common name for each specimen. (A list of names will not be provided.) Be sure to print neatly and be sure your answer is legible. Common names must be the ones used on the Florida 4-H Forest Ecology website and must be complete. (E.g., "maple" is not a correct answer for "red maple.") We recommend that you practice in advance using the scoresheets for the contest.
- Also, to provide more of a challenge for participants in the botanical stations, we have moved a few species around.
- Cabbage Palm has moved from Trees of Florida to Plants of Florida so that participants will need to distinguish it from Saw Palmetto.
- To replace Cabbage Palm on the Trees list,
- Tuliptree has been added to the Junior Tree list.
- Boxelder has been added to the Intermediate Tree list.
- American Hornbeam and Eastern Hophornbeam have moved from the ecosystem section to be on the Senior Trees list.
- Bluff Oak (Quercus austrina) has been added as a Upland Hardwoods plant to replace Hophornbeam. (This change will first affect the 2017 contest.)
- Water Hickory (Carya aquatica) has been added as a Bottomland Hardwoods plant to replace American Hornbeam. (This change will first affect the 2018 contest.)
Changes that started with the 2015 4-H Forest Ecology Contest:
Several changes were made to this site on February 10, 2015 to provide increased clarity. This new information applied to the 2015 contest and will apply to all future contests:
- Clarification on who can participate. (Members of the winning Senior team are not eligible to compete again. Highest scoring individual Seniors may compete again as team members, but cannot score in the individual competition.)
- Updated list of what to bring. (Remember to bring insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat!)
- Change in how Seniors will give answers in the Tree of Florida station. (Seniors will write the name of the tree in the blank when given a list of common names.)
- Clarification on the rules for Quiz Bowl. (In the Directed Questions event, after the question is read, the team captain has 10 seconds to begin the answer and 10 seconds to complete the answer. Team members may collaborate and discuss, but the captain must answer the question.)
- Clarification on the Tree Measurement station. (Contestants will estimate the volume of the wood in each tree, not in an entire forested area.)
The following changes were made to this site on December 20, 2014. This information first applied to the 2015 contest and will apply to all future contests:
- Change in Senior Quiz from ecosystems to forest management content
- Change in Quiz Bowl structure
- Clarity on scoring for the Tree Measurement station
- Additional information to help youth study:
- Photos from the 2016 Contest
- 2015 Contest Winners!
- Photos from the 2015 Contest
- Photos from the 2014 Contest
- 2013 Contest Winners!
- 2012 Contest Winners!
Go See Florida Forests!
- Florida State Forests
- Join the Friends of Florida State Forests
- Florida State Parks
- Get Outdoors Florida