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Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP)

The National 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) teaches youth the fundamentals of wildlife ecology and management. Wildlife has great appeal for young people and can be a mechanism to further involve them in appreciating, understanding, and conserving our nation’s natural resources.

Recent research has shown that when young people spend time in the outdoors, they benefit mentally as well as physically. When these benefits are coupled with essential life skills such as oral and written communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and decision making—skills WHEP develops—you’ll understand why this conservation education program has won national awards!

Components of WHEP

Wildlife Identification and Knowledge

  • Understand basic ecological concepts
  • Identify wildlife and fish species
  • Demonstrate knowledge of wildlife biology and behavior (habitat and food needs)

Wildlife Management Practices

  • Evaluate habitat
  • Make land management recommendations

Management Plan

  • Develop, write, and present a wildlife management plan

How to Get Started

To get started in WHEP, contact your county Extension office and ask for information about the WHEP program.

Since this is a 4-H program, all participants in WHEP will need to be 4-H members to be eligible to compete in WHEP contests. 4-H’ers can participate as individuals or in teams of three or four; two teams per county are allowed. Contests are held during Project Achievement Days for junior 4-H’ers (ages 8 - 14) and during Club Congress for senior 4-H’ers (ages 14 - 18). Your Extension agent can provide these dates and tell you about any training sessions to help you learn more about implementing the program. These sessions are beneficial but not crucial to forming a successful WHEP team.

Once you have this information, get a copy of the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program: A Manual for Mississippi; recruit young people interested in conservation, go outdoors, and start studying and having fun.

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Man standing in the woods inspects nylon straps on a tree stand he is holding on in his hands.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife September 21, 2018

Safety is a key aspect of having a successful and enjoyable hunt this season and for many more to come.

A man mimics removing a fishing hook from a woman’s arm during a safety demonstration as another man looks on.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education April 25, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Chickasaw County has piloted the 4-H sport fishing program in Mississippi for two years, but other counties will soon be offering the curriculum.

A small yellow bird holding a worm in its beak while perched on a small tree branch.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education December 15, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter weather makes life more difficult for wildlife, even in the South. Animals must have shelter to survive the potentially deadly effects of ice, snow and freezing rain.

Food can be hard to find in winter. Animals that eat plants or insects have few choices once their food dies with the cold weather or is covered by wintry precipitation. Even predators face food shortages since winter conditions can cause their prey to spend more time in hiding.

Close-up photo of a brown and white owl as it looks off to the right.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife November 17, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. – What do Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh, the U.S. Forest Service, Tootsie Pops and Xyzal have in common? All prominently feature owls in their stories and marketing campaigns.

Some owls help sell products such as lollipops and allergy medications. Others sell ideas, like the Forest Service's Woodsy Owl -- "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute." Harry had a pet owl named Hedwig, and Winnie had a friend named Owl.

Four fourth-grade girls show off their personal identification cards that are passes to federal parks.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Natural Resources September 1, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Those of us with a strong connection to the natural world know that attachment was born and strengthened through personal experiences we had outdoors as children, generally when family members took us outside to spend time, relax or have fun.

A new nationwide program began in 2015 with hopes of increasing access to federal public lands for fourth-grade students, along with the goal of establishing connections to the outdoors. Every Kid in a Park begins its third year on Sept. 1, 2017. Every fourth-grader has easy access to a free pass for admission to public land from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2018. 

Success Stories

A white sign with dark green lettering reads, “Monarch Waystation: This site provides milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. Certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation. Create, Conserve, & Protect Monarch Habitats.”
Wildlife Youth Education, About Extension, Master Gardener, Insects, Lawn and Garden, Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, The Story of Plants and People, Vegetable Gardens, Urban and Community Forestry, Urban and Backyard Wildlife, Wildlife Economics and Enterprises
Volume 4 Number 2

See what's new in Extension: a new monarch garden, a storytelling series will begin, the Garden Expo highlights Extension education, and Keep America Beautiful recognizes MSU Extension.

A blonde woman with glasses, wearing a yellow shirt and a motley scarf, stands smiling on a sidewalk in front of trees beside a sign marking “UF University IFAS Extension State Headquarters Florida 4-H Youth Development.”


4-H, 4-H Forestry, Health and Wellness, Join 4-H, Leadership, Wildlife Youth Education, Youth Projects
Volume 4 Number 2

Joy Cantrell Jordan, 4-H alumna, shares her memories and other thoughts about Mississippi 4-H.


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