Welcome to the Arkansas 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP)!
Our announced region for 2021 contests and events is Southeast Mixed Forest and Outer Coastal Plain. (We are repeating the ecoregion from last year, due to COVID restricting our state contest in 2020.) Wildlife ID will include species listed in this region, as well as species from both Urban and Wetland ecoregions.
UPDATE SUMMARY (October 30, 2020): We are working toward a virtual practice session on the scheduled date of January 30, 2021, and possibly an in-person state contest at the 4-H Center, pending COVID guidance and safety considerations, on April 30, 2021. For additional information, see below.
2021 WHEP PROGRAMS
- Wildlife Habitat Education Program Practice Session - Learn about the contest through guided practices and various activities at this virtual event on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Register by January 15.
- Wildlife Field Day - Cancelled due to COVID guidance. We are investigating a virtual field tour as a replacement.
- Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) State Contest – We are very tentatively planning an in-person state contest at the 4-H Center, pending COVID guidance and safety considerations, on April 30, 2021, with registration by April 1. If held in person, the contest will be from 9AM to noon for Juniors (no Educational Activity event this year), and 9AM to after 2PM for Seniors, who will be dismissed after they complete Oral Reasons. For safety reasons, the contest will be restricted to contestants only. Unfortunately no additional educational activities will be available to non-contestants including parents, leaders, or siblings. This will be a "drop off-pick up" event. No awards ceremony will be held to avoid large gatherings. If held, we will be solely focused on keeping everyone safe by following protocols during the day of the contest. Bubble-filled answer sheets will be collected and scored, and winners announced at a later time.
- NEW FOR 2021: we will be using an automated scoring system where participants will fill in circles on a scorecard. The scorecards provided in the section below are for practice purposes.
WHEP Study Guide (HANDBOOK)
- The WHEP Study Guide for Southeast Mixed Forest and Outer Coastal Plain can be downloaded and printed free of charge (the file is very large and may be slow to download). The study guide can be downloaded and/or printed by activity under the tabs listed below.
- The WHEP Study Guide can be ordered through the UA Cooperative Extension Service's Print Shop. Order by contacting your County Extension Office. The county office will send a request form to the Print Shop. Costs vary from year to year depending on the number of pages. Typically the cost for a black and white copy is about $10 and a color copy is about $36. Contact your County Extension Office for exact pricing.
Handbook in Sections
2.0 Wildlife Identification
2-1. Event Description
2-2. Study Materials: Species Descriptions
2-3. Contestant's Scorecard
STATE CONTEST: Contestants have the option to write answers on answer sheets before transferring to bubble sheets.
3.0 Wildlife Foods and Concepts
3-1. Event Description
3-2. Study Materials
Practice Table (blank) The practice table will not be on the contest. The questions will be multiple choice. The table is just a way to help organize thoughts for practicing about the species and their foods. The foods listed in Species Descriptions (Section 2.2 above) are the reference.
3-3. Scorecard: Contestants will have the option to write answers on answer sheets before transfering to bubble sheets.
STATE CONTEST: Universal Form C, front page
4.0 Interpreting Wildlife Habitat from Satellite Images (Juniors only)
4-1. Event Description
4-3. Scorecard: Contestants will have the option to write answers on answer sheets before transfering to bubble sheets.
5.0 Wildlife Educational Activity (Juniors only; will not be held in 2021)
5-1. Event Description
5-2. Scorecard: can be either a paper handout or bubble sheet, subject to instructor's preference.
Scorecard (example): Tallgrass Prairie (2019) All answers were provided as part of the presentation. No advance studying is necessary for this activity.
6.0 Wildlife Management Practices
6-1. Event Description
6-4. Contestant's Scorecard (up to 6 species). Contestants will have the option to write answers on table-scorecards before transferring answers to bubble sheets.
7.0 Wildlife Management Plan (Seniors only)
7-1. Event Description
7-2. Study Guide
7-3. Judge's Scorecard
8.0 Oral Defense (Seniors only)
8-1. Event Description
8-2. Study Guide
8-3. Judge's Scorecard
WHEP Virtual Practice Session Resources
- Inside Birding: Size and Shape (video link)
- Inside Birding: Color Pattern (video link)
- Inside Birding: Understanding Behavior (video link)
- Inside Birding: Habitat (video link)
Urban species (links to each bird): American robin, common nighthawk, eastern bluebird, European starling, house finch, house sparrow, house wren, northern flicker, peregrine falcon, rock pigeon, ruby-throated hummingbird, song sparrow.
Reptiles, Amphibians & Fish
Herps and Fishes video by Lori Monday, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Wildlife Habitat Practices
Native Plants and Pollinators video by Virginia McDaniel, U.S. Forest Service
Writing a Wildlife Management Plan
WHEP State Contest
NOTE for 2021: The WHEP State Contest for Juniors and Seniors will be held on April 30, but its format (virtual, in-person, or hybrid) has yet to be determined. So keep studying! There will not be a Cloverbud event this year.
The state contest recognizes those youth who excel in their understanding of wildlife and habitat management. This one-day event typically starts at 9:30am and concludes with the awards ceremony at approximately 3:00pm. Educational and/or recreational opportunities are available to non-contestants (e.g., parents, coaches, siblings) and Juniors who complete the contest after lunch. A different contest location is selected each year to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the different ecoregions and habitats in our state.
Achievement is accessed through competitive scores in contest events. Information about each of these events is available in the study guide, also called the handbook. The Arkansas handbook closely follows the national invitational handbook. The handbook is designed to provide uniformity for state and national contests. Recommended management practices are presented in a generalized way using representative species occupying major habitats. The reality of wildlife habitat management is often more complex. Emerging knowledge about wildlife and management, financial and political issues and technological improvements affect how habitat is best managed and restored.
The winning team of 4-H Seniors is eligible to represent Arkansas at the national WHEP Invitational and compete against other state teams for recognition and awards.
What to Bring
Each contestant needs to bring an unmarked clipboard and several pencils with erasers. (Pencil sharpeners are not available.) The contest will be held rain or shine, so dress according to the weather and be prepared to be outdoors. Wear close-toed shoes. Sunscreen, hats, rain gear, and insect repellent are advisable. Electronic devices including cell phones, calculators, and computer watches are not allowed.
Cloverbuds. With county approval, Cloverbuds can learn about wildlife while Juniors and Seniors are competing -- if your county is already bringing Juniors and Seniors to the competition. Supervised Cloverbuds will be given time typically in the morning to complete a Wildlife Identification station. Adults are encouraged to help Cloverbuds as much as needed. This is an educational opportunity offered to these youngsters, as they represent the future of the WHEP program.
Scenarios for past Wildlife Management Plans in Arkansas:
Wildlife Kits. Educational wildlife kits are available on loan to County 4-H agents. The following kits are available: (1) furs and skulls, (2) plastic tracks, scat, & egg replicas, (3) plastic molds to make plaster casts of tracks, and (4) a set of 10 binoculars for birdwatching. Kits are picked up from Forest Resources in the Extension state office (Little Rock). From January - April, the first and second kits need to be returned within two weeks when these contest materials are in high demand. County agents are responsible for reserving and returning neatly-organized kits. To reserve kits, email KeriJo Halpine, email@example.com.
"Wildlife Is All Around Us" Series (Project Books)
Intermediate/Advanced 4-H Project Books
For Sale & Free Publications
Wildlife Science Curriculum & WHEP resources (Purdue Extension's The Education Store)