Over 100 local students gathered for the fourth annual Red River Army Depot Forestry
Invitational held at Elliott Lake on March 21. Students from Future Farmers of America
(FFA) chapters and Head, Heart, Hands and Health (4-H) clubs of 13 high schools
gathered to compete for the awards.
“The forestry competition provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain insight
into forest management,” said Greg Kelley, Depot Forester. “The competition also gives
students the chance to talk with professional foresters and natural resource managers.”
Winners for this year’s competition included first place recipient Cass County Hope 4-H
Club with team members Tymber Reust, Phenyx Reust, Allyson Hamilton and Joshua
Whatley. Second place was awarded to Avery FFA, followed by Harmony FFA in third
place. The high point individual was for the contest was Carley Westbrook of Avery
FFA. Awards were presented by Mark Crawford, the director for the depot’s Public
During the competition, students gain experience with a variety of skills such as pine
identification, hardwood identification, timber forage-wildlife relationships, tree
measurements and volume determination, rate of growth, wood identification, wood
products, compass and pacing, site management concerns and site productivity.
RRStudents are taught the value in managing forest lands for multiple uses by recognizing
the land can be managed to enhance wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and protect soil and
water quality at the same time that wood products are growing.
The students will go on to compete in competitions held locally by each soil and water
conservation district, and the winners from these local competitions go to the state
competition which is held in late April.
The Red River Army Depot Rod and Gun Club provided the meal for the event.
Employees of the Texas Forest Service help to facilitate the competition along with
RRAD employees, retirees and volunteers.
“While competitive in nature, it is our hope that this is remembered as a fun contest and
gives the participants a glimpse of the incredible work that is performed at Red River
Army Depot and of the remarkable natural resources that are present here,” said Kelley.