Florida Forest Service hosts Future Farmers of America forestry competition

Special to the Press Gazette | USA TODAY NETWORK

MILTON — Typically, the Florida Forest Service partners with Future Farmers of America chapters at middle and high schools to conduct the FFA District Forestry Career Development Events.

Future Farmers of America students compete in the 2021 FFA District Forestry Career Development Events competition Oct. 12 at Bear Lake Recreation Area in Milton.

The in-person competition was canceled last year because of COVID-19 but was renewed Oct. 12 at Bear Lake Recreation Area on Blackwater River State Forest with precautions in place.

The contests allow students to test their knowledge and skills in various aspects of forestry and compete against students from other schools within their FFA District, with the winning schools advancing to the statewide contest to compete again. FFA District 1 covers the western panhandle from Escambia to Washington counties.

Tree identification was one of the categories in which Future Farmers of America students competed in the 2021 FFA District Forestry Career Development Events competition Oct. 12 at Bear Lake in Milton.

With some modifications for safety, the event consisted of a forestry general knowledge exam and other stations where the students were tested on tree identification (dendrology), forestry equipment identification, forest disorders and timber cruising.

This competition promotes and facilitates the education of skills used in forest management and can serve as a great foundation to prepare students for a college forestry program and further enable them to pursue a career in forestry. Florida Forest Service personnel and education professionals served as judges and graders and assisted with the day’s activities.

The Future Farmers of America forestry competition consisted of a forestry general knowledge exam and other stations where the students were tested on tree identification (dendrology), forestry equipment identification, forest disorders and timber cruising. It was held Oct. 12 in Milton.

Seven high schools and three middle schools brought a total of 17 teams to participate in the competition, for a total of 87 students and agriculture teachers.

Tate High School’s Synoma Perea took the top individual spot in the high school level as she and her teammates took home the top spot (Tate A) in the team competition. Tate B took second and Poplar Springs (Graceville) High placed third.

Students participating in the  FFA District Forestry Career Development Events competition took a a forestry general knowledge exam Oct. 12 at Bear Lake Recreation Area in Milton.

In the middle school competition, Abby Vernier from Beulah Middle School took top honors, while Beulah A took top team honors, Ransom Middle B second and Beulah B third.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FDACS.gov/FLForestService.