Teams converge on West Virginia to compete in National 4-H Forestry Invitational

40th annual Invitational draws teams from 13 states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 40th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational has drawn teams from across the U.S. to compete in West Virginia. This year, teams from 13 states have entered the forestry skills and knowledge challenge.

As it has each year since 1980, the National 4-H Forestry Invitational is being held in the Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Conference Center in Weston. The 2019 Invitational began July 29 and continues through August 1.

“The 4-H Forestry Invitational is a lot of fun. It also serves an important purpose,” said Linda Carnell, assistant state forester in education, West Virginia Division of Forestry. “Today’s 4-H participants learn about conservation, sustainable management and forestry products. They will be better prepared to be responsible landowners able to deal with environmental issues in the future.”

West Virginia is the third most forested state in the country.

Each participating state can field one team, usually with three to four members. The 2019 Invitational teams come from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

West Virginia’s 2019 team hails from Braxton County. Team members are Ellen Collins and Hannah Cooley of Flatwoods, Raven Friend of Exchange, and Julianna Rexroad of Duck. Braxton County WVU Extension Agent Debbie Friend and Christy Collins coach the team.

Qualifying to join a state 4-H forestry team involves a year or more of preparation. The 4-H members enter a statewide contest where the state winning team is declared. Then the state champions travel to the national contest in West Virginia.

At the National 4-H Forestry Invitational, teams pit their knowledge and skill against each other in areas such as tree identification, forest evaluation, compass orienteering, topographic map use, and forest insect and disease identification.

The top team is awarded the National 4-H Forestry Winner title. The competition also recognizes one top-scoring individual.

For more information about the 2019 or future National 4-H Forestry Invitational events, visit

Related social media hashtag: #WVForestry, #wvtrees, #wvwoods, #WVForest

FOR RELEASE: July 31, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Andy Malinoski, 304-553-9305,