Then the 4Hers returned after almost three hours in the field. They had gone through seven stations related to wildlife, plant ID, and management. Renee and I thankfully made it through the contest in about thirty minutes. I think we did a good job of reviewing information before the contest. Techniques varied in skill from deer aging to wing ID to hides. I think it was a good variety of skills for the group. The plants were all ones we had seen over the last few days, except a very young annual sunflower and broomweed. The focus animals were deer, quail and dove, which was a good combination for our group. Renee and I rushed back as we had to gather the group back into cars and find a different location for lunch and awards. Here are a few examples:
|Can you believe that pesky wolfberry made it on the contest?!|
|How to age a deer by its teeth|
|Not a great picture but this was a snow goose wing|
|Don't be fooled...this was a mule deer!|
See the black tip on its tail?
Once again, I realize the importance of the learning experience for our 4Hers. Do we do this for the trophy or for the expereince? After all, if we had not gone on this trip, we would never have been able to learn about wildlife and plants at the focus level we did. We also would not have had the opportunity, as a group, to experience two amazing Texas parks with awesome park rangers! The experience far outweighed the trophy.
Also, we arrived home late in the night (morning?), but I took the time to check out our scores. I am so proud of our little group! We placed 5th in the 4H division (Sean, Joseph, Henry, and Caitlin), and our 4Hers were in the upper half of the individual scores. I guess those learning experiences paid off after all. The group certainly retained the information we learned and hopefully enjoyed doing it! Best of all, we are a young team, and we will have many years to continue our efforts (After all, I have a 3-year old already learning and maybe another little wildlife expert on the way!). We have many lessons to bring back to our other 4H participants for next year.
Always looking for ways to 'make the best better!'