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Wildlife with FFA

Ailine Meraz

Each year, Seguin FFA participates in the Wildlife CDE in Ingram, TX during which, a team of four students competes to gain field experience.

"In Ingram, we have two doubleheaders. What that means is that we have two contests on the same day where the kids get to practice before area comes," Agriculture teacher Mrs. Kelso said. "It's an invitation where kids get to experience wildlife unification. They look at tracks, scats, they look at hides, and they have tests on game laws for wildlife, and they go over biological facts."

The students practice daily to prepare for this competition, but they also remember to let loose a little and have fun. One of their favorite ways to spend time is seeing how the other schools compete as they are going against stricter schools.

"The main goal of the competition is to compete and just try our best and see where we place among bigger schools," senior Tanner Schuehle said. "It also kinda puts you out there because there are colleges that go there and look at what you're good at."

This year the team has two freshmen competing with them, which allows them to gain experience during the first doubleheader and apply it to competitions in the future.

"I'm excited," freshman Garrett Bloch said. "We went to the first one, and it helped us learn. I'm hoping that we can improve by a lot. The first one we didn't know what was happening, so we're hoping we can improve now that we know better."

The competitors study and prepare every Wednesday morning. During class, they create slideshows to help better understand competition material. They have quite a problematic plot that they go through at the competition.

"There are eight questions, and one of the questions is they give you 15 plants you have to identify," Bloch said. "You have a table with different horns and skins, and you have to identify which animal it is. You have to take tests about safety, game laws, wildlife facts as well as you get a plot of land, and you have to identify what management practices are needed for which animals and which are suited for that environment."

Not only does this give the students going a fun time and many memories, but it also readies them for the future if they are taking up a job in this sort of field.

"It's a good way to know, like if you're going into the wildlife industry, how to identify those animals," Mrs. Kelso said. "It also helps know how to make sure that we're giving adequate space and cover to those animals in need."

Come and stop by the AG room some day to wish these students luck before they head off to compete in March. They would appreciate it if you could come to support them.

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