• By April Bowman
  • Posted Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forsyth 4-H’er Wins Top Honor At National Event

From landscaping your roof to delving into the details of sweet potato production, youth from North Carolina traveled to California to share their favorite plant stories at the 77th annual National Junior Horticultural Association’s annual convention in San Diego. Twenty-four youth and adults formed the North Carolina delegation and brought their best plant knowledge to bear on a series of contests designed to test communication and problem solving skills.

Youth participated in demonstration and presentation competitions, giving talks and showing how to do different horticultural processes like grafting, preparing fruits and vegetables and making biodiesel from soybeans. Many youth attended specifically to participate in the Horticulture Judging Contest, a comprehensive exam that requires youth to take a written test on horticulture fundamentals, judge plants for quality and to identify over 180 different plant species. The sample to be identified may be a seed, a leaf, a twig, fruit, sometimes even a root and challenges even veteran taxonomists. The NC 4-H team placed first in the country in the horticulture contest, earning a coveted award among their plant geek peers.

Beyond the contests, the NC youth came together to meet new friends from different places across the country, to experience the interesting southern Californian horticulture wonders, and to build relationships that might be a platform for a career in the future. Youth visited the renowned San Diego Zoo, where the plant collection was just as amazing and engaging as the animal exhibits and the San Diego Botanic Garden, which boasts a brand new children’s garden and bamboo collection and showcases the planting possibilities in an semi-arid climate.

Any youth in North Carolina is invited to participate in NJHA activities and should consider participating in state level 4-H presentation program and competing in the annual NC 4-H Horticulture Contest to earn scholarships towards convention registration. The NJHA 2012 convention is in the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Questions about the program can be directed to Liz Driscoll, 4-H Specialist, NC State University, NC Cooperative Extension at liz_driscoll@ncsu.edu or 919-513-7346.

The local North Carolina youth represented the state tremendously by achieving the following awards:

Horticultural Use:
Grand National Award Winner: Melissa Mason, Forsyth County (formerly an Alexander County 4-H member prior to moving to Forsyth County in 2011)
National Award Winner: Brandon Hartman, Stokes County

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