Land judging competition teaches Georgia 4-H'ers critical thinking skills

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Sixty-five Georgia 4-H'ers participated in the 2020 State Land Judging Contest held Aug. 24 at Flinchum’s Phoenix, located in the University of Georgia Whitehall Forest in Athens, Georgia. Teams from eight counties all over Georgia competed, a 23% increase in participation from previous years.

The Georgia 4-H Land Judging Program offers youth the chance to build critical-thinking skills, science-based knowledge, and life skills in soil science. The youth analyze north and south Georgia soils in pits and trays at four different stations. At each station, they must identify soil characteristics and determine best soil management practices for crops, pastures or forestry uses.

“Youth learn practical skills related to soil science and agriculture,” said Craven Hudson, UGA Cooperative Extension 4-H specialist. “When they become adults, these skills will help them understand if their home could have a basement, or the workings of home septic systems. This is very practical material.”

The State Land Judging Contest consists of two competition brackets. The junior competition is for youth in fourth through eighth grades, and the senior competition is for ninth through 12th grades. A county may bring up to 20 youth in up to three teams. The youth compete individually for the high individual winner and as a team by combining the top county individuals. The First Place Senior Team Winners will represent Georgia at the 2020 National Land Judging Contest in May in Oklahoma.

Junior division winners are:

  • First place team: Cassidy Roberts, Kye Lachowsky and Kyra Burmeister, Liberty County
  • Second place team: Venya Gunjal, Sandhya Rajesh, Aarsheya Gunjal and Prayushi Padhi, Cobb County
  • Third place team: Eli Sapp, Jacob Sowards, Wesley Duncan and Nicholas Wilson, Brooks County
  • Junior high individual: Cassidy Roberts, Liberty County

Senior division winners are:

  • First place team: Makayla Nash, Kelly Lachowsky, Jonathan Woolf, Melvin Kimble, Liberty County
  • Second place team: David Han, Alicia Carnes, Nelley McCommons, Camille Stephenson, Oconee County
  • Third place team: Kai Thomas, Thane Nye, Aman Boricha-Masand and Zoe Economides, Bibb County
  • Senior high individual: Makayla Nash, Liberty County

Georgia 4-H’s Land Judging Program is growing as newly certified coaches help establish new teams in many counties. This event was made possible by the collaboration and support of land judging coaches, 4-H Extension staff, UGA soil science student volunteers and other volunteers.

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 175,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local UGA Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Cristina deRevere is the public relations coordinator for Georgia 4-H.
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