Members of the 4-H Poweshiek Prowlers 4-H team won Iowa’s first ever state WHEP (Wildlife Habitat Education Program) competition on Saturday, May 22 at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City. Pictured are, from left: Ashtin Walker, coach; Cora Kellogg, Zane Iverson, Trenten Huls, Ivy Kellogg and Amy Andrews, coach. The team of 4th – 6th graders met virtually and in-person once a week since January to prepare for the competition.
Congratulations to Poweshiek County's Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) team. These students known as the Poweshiek Prowlers, won Iowa's first ever state WHEP competition at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City on Saturday, May 22.
This team of 4th - 6th graders met virtually and in-person once a week since January to study a 200 plus page manual that covered ecosystems, wildlife species, and concepts related to land and wildlife management. They were coached by Poweshiek County Naturalist, Amy Andrews, and Poweshiek County 4-H Youth Coordinator, Ashtin Walker.
According to Andrews and Kaycie Waters, a 4-H statewide coordinator with the WHEP program, the course work the team learned was geared more toward college students.
The team consisted of Cora Kellogg, Zane Iverson, Trenten Huls and Ivy Kellogg.
At Saturday's competition, the team worked together to write a three-page plan that described how they would manage a specific tract of land to meet the need of three target species - northern harrier, red fox, and grasshopper sparrows. Judges complimented them on their ability to write clearly and balance the trade-offs between the different habitats the three species required. They were also graded on an individual test where they identified animal sounds, pelts, and answered questions about 16 native prairie wildlife species. Medals were given for the top three individual test takers, and Trenten Huls placed third.
Between events, participants planted native prairie plants and went on guided hikes and tours of the refuge.
“If you see Cora, Ivy, Zane, Trenten, or their families around congratulate them on a job well done,” noted Walker. “They put in the effort, and it paid off!”