K-State Research and Extension News
April 23, 2014
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Pleasanton High School Team wins 2014 Kansas Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Contest

Photos and captions available

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Pleasanton High School’s Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program team took first place in the 2014 WHEP State Contest’s senior team competition held this year at  Broken Arrow Park in Lawrence, Kan.

Members of the winning team included Justice Dent, John Epps, Savannah Reynolds and Hunter Secrest.

The Mission Valley High School Senior team placed second and the Cowley County Senior team took third.

Sylvan-Lucas High School’s Fritz Berger took first place in the senior individual competition, Justice Dent of Pleasanton took second and Riley Thom from Cowley County took third. 

This was the 26th year for the WHEP program in Kansas, held this year on April 18. The K-State Research and Extension-sponsored contest, held annually in different areas of the state, attracted 47 participants and more than 20 coaches and guests from nine schools. Participants judged wildlife habitat using evaluation skills they learned through their local WHEP training.

The program is a 4-H and FFA youth natural resource program dedicated to teaching wildlife and fisheries habitat management to junior and senior level (ages 8-19) youth in the United States. It won the 1996 Wildlife Society’s Conservation Education Award. The Wildlife Society is the professional organization that certifies wildlife biologists worldwide.

“The goal of WHEP is to teach our youth how to be wise stewards of our wildlife and fisheries resources,” said Charlie Lee, extension wildlife specialist at Kansas State University and chair of this year’s event. “The kids are given real world situations and work together to provide solutions to natural resource problems that managers face.”

Contestants individually judged the suitability of habitat for wildlife species through on-site evaluation on property managed by Haskell University. Other parts of the competition included sections on general wildlife knowledge and wildlife identification. As teams, they also wrote rural wildlife management plans for four different wildlife species and were quizzed orally about the logic of that plan.

The junior division team from Reno County 4-H took first place, and the Cowley County and Burg Go Getters team took second and third, respectively. Hunter Mericle from Cowley County took the high individual honors in the Junior division with Jacob Milburn from Reno County 4-H in second place and Bailey Haunschild of Cowley County taking third.

Participants also participated in a tour of Baker Wetlands led by Roger Boyd, emeritus professor of biology at Baker University, where they discussed wetland mitigation and wetland restoration.

Members of the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society at Kansas State University helped develop questions, serve as judges and conduct the contest.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Dr. Charlie Lee is at 785-532-5734 or clee@ksu.edu