4-H members enhance wildlife habitat

By Diane Palmer


A 4-H program is teaching youth ages 5-19 how to create food plots that benefit wildlife. Called Food and Cover Establishment for Wildlife,the program is an annual statewide contest co-sponsored by Clemson 4-H, theS.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and S.C. Quail Unlimited.

“In this program youth learn about wildlife ecology, identification,behavior and management,” said Rick Willey, Clemson Extension 4-H natural resources specialist. “They also learn about soil fertility, plant identification, hydrology, weather, farming techniques, record keeping, and life skills such as reading, writing, art, computers, math, photography, and recording data on maps, charts and graphs.”

Each contestant keeps records on site preparation,fertilization, wildlife sightings and other observations from mid-June until mid-August. In the fall, plots and record books are judged on the county, regional and state levels by DNR wildlife biologists and technicians.

“This is an excellent opportunity for youths to participate in hands-on wildlife management, learn more about wildlife, and benefit wildlife populations all at the same time,” said Jay Butfiloski, DNR wildlife biologist and statewide coordinator for the program. Last year, 4-H members in 32 counties participated in the contest. 

For information: Rick Willey, 864-656-3090, rwlly@clemson.edu