A team of four Virginia high-school youths, coached by faculty and alumni from Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, placed second in the 27th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational.

The competition was recently held at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center. Forestry professor and extension specialist Jeff Kirwan along with associate professor of forestry Phil Radtke helped coach the 4-H team, along with college alumni Susan Wilder and Christina Hodges.

The students competed for overall team and individual awards in several categories including a forestry written exam, tree identification, tree measurement, compass orienteering, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, the Forestry Bowl, and forest evaluation. Radtke coached the team in the forest measurements event. “Our team did extremely well, particularly in forest measurements,” noted Kirwan, who works with the 4-H youth in various outreach education projects throughout the year.

4-H is a youth education program operated by the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state land-grant universities. Over five million people participate in 4-H, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H Forestry Program. The International Paper Company Foundation and the Cooperative Extension Service sponsored this year’s competition.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech serves the Commonwealth of Virginia in teaching, research, and extension.