Alleghany County representing North Carolina at National 4-H Wildlife Contest

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On Saturday, May 6, 2023, 48 4-H youth and families gathered at Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in Anson County for the 2023 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program State Contest (WHEP). Nine counties put forth three Senior Division teams and six Junior Division teams. In addition, 13 individuals and three Cloverbuds participated in the contest. The contest consisted of four activities: wildlife identification and general wildlife knowledge, wildlife foods, aerial photo interpretation, and on-site wildlife habitat recommendations. The second place Senior Division team from Alleghany County will have the opportunity to represent North Carolina at the National 4-H WHEP Contest at the end of July in Milford, Iowa.

4-H youth lift their coach into the air in celebration

Alleghany County Senior WHEP Team celebrates with their team Coach. (L-R: Abbie Joines, Ethan Pardue, Bryan Cassell (coach), Brendan McLain, Jackson Thompson). Photo by Michele Hamm.

Members of the Alleghany County team are Abbie Joines, Brendan McLain, Ethan Pardue, and Jackson Thompson. Bryan Cassell is the lead coach for the team, with assistance from Amy Lucas, Alleghany County’s 4-H Agent. Bryan is very familiar with WHEP, as he competed in state contests as a 4-H youth and also represented North Carolina at the national competition in 2014.

Forsyth County did have the top score in the Senior Division, but declined participation in the national contest as some team members will be attending the national Forestry Invitation in West Virginia during the same time period. Edgecombe County placed third in the Senior Division. Overall contest top scores came from the Junior Division, with Sarah Patton from Forsyth County having the highest individual score across all competitors and the top scoring team, also from Forsyth county.

Teams traveled from across the state to participate in the state contest at Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, with Alexander, Alleghany, Cabarrus, Catawba, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Henderson, Madison, and Wilson counties represented. WHEP is a national 4-H program teaching youth about wildlife and the management of their habitats. Thank you to Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge and especially Greg Walmsley, refuge manager, for hosting our group! Extension Forestry, within NC State University’s College of Natural Resources, supports and promotes the 4-H WHEP program in North Carolina. Since 2001, over 1000 youth have participated in the program at the state level. For more information about the NC WHEP program and other 4-H programs offered by Extension Forestry, visit or contact Renee Strnad, Extension Forestry Environmental Educator, at or 919-515-5518.

     Sarah Patton Forsyth
     Zane Capps Henderson
     Rachel Patton Forsyth
     Maggie McCall Henderson
     Wilson Griffin Forsyth
     Nathan Patton Forsyth
TOP TEAM SCORES (Junior Division) TOP TEAM SCORES (Senior Division)
     Forsyth A Forsyth
     Henderson B Alleghany
     Forsyth B Edgecombe