The Forestry Field Day event is a competitive activity that tests student's skills and knowledge in the area of forest management.
BROOKS CO., GA (WALB) -
Some South Georgia FFA students now have a better idea of how prepared they are for a career in the forest industry.
Middle and high school students from across South Georgia competed against one another in a forestry field day at Southwind Sporting Clays in Brooks County.
Danny Bartlett is Georgia's South Region Forestry Teacher for Agricultural Education and said the forestry field days are important in helping prepare the students for their future careers in the forest industry.
"If you would walk around to any Georgia Forestry Commission, DNR, private industry, and you talk to some guys, you'll probably find that they participated in a forestry field day when they were in high school," Bartlett said.
The field day was the first of six. The Georgia Forestry Commission will have a field day every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the month. The events are part of the "practice season", where FFA forestry students prepare to compete at the state and national competitions.
"Forestry is Georgia's number one industry," explained Bartlett. "Most of our tax dollars come from the forest industry."
The students competed in whichever event they have chosen to learn about in their classes. Zeke Smith is a senior at Ware County High School. He was competing in the tree I'd event.
"It gives you a good idea of what you're gonna be doing'," Smith said. "Like, with reforestation you're gonna be planting' trees all the time. [For] tree i.d., you gotta know what you're lookin' at."
He recommends the competitions for anyone interested in a career in the forest industry.
"Do forestry competitions; you can learn. Take your forestry classes in high school. Get a background knowledge of what you're gonna be doin'," Smith emphasized.
Shelby Corbett is the Middle and High School Agricultural Education Teacher in Echols County and brought her students to the competition.
"It gives them a real world application of what they're learning in the classroom," said Corbett. "This gives them a lot of hands-on opportunities that they may not get at school."
The next field day will be Thursday, March 13th at Laura S. Walker State Park in Waycross.
The regional competitions will be held in April. The Southwest Georgia regional competition will be held at Reed Bingham State Park and the Southeast Georgia regional competition will be held in Broadhurst.
From there, students will move on to the state competition held in May in Swainsboro and then on to the national competition at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky in October.