The Valdosta Daily Times
For 32 years, the Langdale Company has hosted the annual Langdale FFA Forestry Field Day, and Tuesday, the company was happy to welcome nearly 120 students.
Throughout the event, students were able to compete in one of the 10 different events in preparation for the area contest. The 10 events were: timber stand improvement, timber cruising for cord volume, land measurement, timber cruising for board foot volume, ocular estimation, reforestation, hand compass, tree identification, forest management and tree and forest disorders.
"Out of the 34 million acres in Georgia, 25 million of them are forests. Forestry is our number one industry and it is our biggest tax base. The forestry event is our most popular FFA contest and that's probably because it is so important to the state," said Danny Bartlett, Forestry Area Teacher South Region, and one of the directors for the event.
FFA students from Tift, Ware, Echols, Clinch, Charlton and Lowndes Counties participated in the field day. They were joined by their FFA advisors as they competed. Each of the events were judged by representatives from the Georgia Forestry Commission, Langdale Company's woodlands division, Southland Forest Products and Packaging Corporation of America, Derek Herring and Franklin Staten.
"Anything a student can do that is hands-on and has relevance to their life is great. These are extremely relevant to the hands-on career paths that these kids may consider one day," said Audrey Pickren with Charlton County.
The Langdale Company is actively involved in many aspects of outdoor education for children through not just the forestry field days but also their participation in Project Learning Tree. PLT is an environmental learning program that teaches students about the outdoors.
"We try to teach them how to think, not what to think. We give them the information to make their own decisions. Kids love being outside and with education like this they don't realize they are learning," said Barbara Boler, Project Learning Tree coordinator for the Langdale Company.
"We are trying to get kids interested in learning about the outdoors. We are very involved in all levels of education and not just with forestry, but also with wildlife and the outdoors in general. We are the ultimate conservationists because if we don't take care of the land, then we won't have a job. We are trying to teach these kids that," said Hal Rowe, Forest Supervisor with Langdale Company, and one of the directors for the event.
The annual field day is held in conjunction with the Georgia FFA Association and South Region Agricultural Education. This is the first of six practice competitions that students will be able to participate in before competing in the actual area contest. The two winning teams from each area will go on to compete at the state level and have the opportunity to compete at the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Ky.
Katie Wilson, Vice President of the Charlton FFA Chapter, said of the event, "I like doing this because I want to educate people who aren't as familiar with the information. I like to teach people that FFA isn't just about farming."
The winners were as follows
Tree/Forest Disorders: 1st. Alexis Rivera, ECHS. 2nd. Amber Smith, WCHS. 3rd. Jay Crews, CCHS.
Ocular Estimation: 1st. Mackenzie Carter, WCHS. 2nd. Jimmy Nettles, CCHS. 3rd. Broxton Crosby, ECHS.
Tree Identification: 1st. Zeke Smith, WCHS. 2nd. Maria Norris, CCHS. 3rd. Miranda Carter, ECHS.
Hand Compass Practicum: 1st. Emily Culpepper, ECMS. 2nd. Jimmy Leland Covington, ECHS. 3rd. Chandler Kudyk.
Timber Stand Improvement and/or Thinning: 1st Brianna Lariscy, 2nd. Brooke Smith, ECHS. 3rd, Aimee Staten, ECHS.
Timber Cruising for Board Foot Volume: 1st. Andrea Dukes, WCHS. 2nd. Avery Wood, ECHS. 3rd. Kameron Swain, TCHS.
Land Measurement: 1st. Gus Hornsby, LCHS. 2nd. Matthew Culpepper, ECHS. 3rd. Marissa Gowen, CCHS.
Forest Management: 1st. Jeb Stewart, CCHS. 2nd. Clay Corbett, ECHS. 3rd. Peyton Sweet, WCHS.
Reforestation: 1st. John Huggins, ECMS. 2nd. Austin Tucker, ECMS. 3rd, Nash Crosby, ECMS.
Timber Cruising for Cord Volume: 1st. Charlton Bennett, WCHS. 2nd. Cody Corebett, ECHS. 3rd. Court Hambrick, ECMS.