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State Forestry Contest

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Annual event continues at the Delay Farm and will be a tribute to Ray

It’s time again for the annual Idaho State Forestry Contest. The event will be held on Thursday, May 8 at the Delay Farm in Careywood, Idaho. Ray and Fairy Delay have hosted the Forestry Contest since its first year in 1983. This year, Fairy Delay will be hosting the contest again, while the legacy of Ray Delay, who passed away last January, lives on through this event.

The Forestry Contest introduces students in grades 7 through 12 to some of the basic skills used in the forestry profession and natural resource conservation. Participants include science and agriculture classes, FFA, Boy Scouts, and 4-H groups. Four-member teams and individuals compete in eight categories. The eight categories are randomly chosen each year from ten categories the students have prepared for: log scaling, timber cruising, tree and plant identification, map reading, compass and pacing, tool identification, soils and water quality, tree health (insects and disease), silviculture (forest management), and noxious weeds. Winners receive cash awards and non-monetary prizes.

In addition to the main contest, several elementary school classes attend as Novices. These students are introduced to forestry and natural resource management by a professional forester who escorts them around a Novice Course. The kids learn some of the basics of tree and plant identification, forest health, and forest ecology, as well as getting some hands-on practice and instruction in compass and pacing, timber cruising, and log scaling.

This year, a Rookie contest is being offered to sixth grade students as a transition between the Novice Course and the main contest. The Rookie contest is a scaled-down version of the contest, with only four stations (compass and pacing, log scaling, timber cruising, and tree identification).

This year’s Honorary Chairman is G. Kirk David, who has served as the Forestry Contest Compass and Pacing Station Leader since the first Contest was held in 1982! Kirk has worked as a professional forester since he graduated from the University of Washington in Forest Resource Management in 1975. Kirk started his career with the Washington Department of Natural Resources, and then went on to W-I Forest Products. He became the State Service Forestry Program Manager for the Idaho Department of Lands in 1991, and served in that capacity until retiring last year. Kirk has donated his expertise to many organizations and committees throughout his career, including the Inland Empire Natural Resources Youth Camp, Society of American Foresters, Tree Farm Program, Forest Stewardship Program and Idaho Forest Owners’ Association. He was voted the SAF Forester of the Year in 1997.

Kirk continues to be very active in the forestry world. He now works part-time for the University of Idaho Forestry Extension Office and is the Idaho Tree Farm State Chairman, Panhandle Lakes Resource and Development Council member-at-large, and the Representative to the SAF National Council from District 1, which includes Alaska, Washington, and the Inland Empire. Kirk’s dedication to the field of forestry and commitment to the Forestry Contest is greatly appreciated by all who know him!

The Forestry Contest is funded by contributions from local businesses, Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout the state, individuals, and other organizations. Their generous contributions pay for materials, promotional items, and lunch for all participants. There are also many forest resource professionals who volunteer their time each year to help out at the contest. The Bonner Soil and Water Conservation District, the Idaho Department of Lands, and the US Forest Service sponsor this event.

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Landon Otis

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