Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program
The 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program (WHEP) teaches young people valuable lessons about wildlife management, conservation, leadership, team-building, citizenship, and communication.
Created in the early 1980s in Tennessee, WHEP has since grown to become the largest and most visible 4-H wildlife program in the United States, involving thousands of participants each year in most U.S. states. Our national event, which is attended by state-winning teams, has hosted over 1000 4-H’ers from 21 states since 1989. Collectively, participants have reported improving thousands of acres of wildlife habitat on private lands.
WHEP teaches young people concepts like wildlife habitat needs, endangered species conservation, hunting and fishing as management tools, and wildlife damage management. Like all 4-H programs, WHEP introduces participants to new opportunities in life; about 5% of our past participants entered a career in natural resources and assumed responsibility for sustainable use of our country’s valuable resources. Please click here for information on the contest activities.
WHEP is open to youth 8-19 years of age. Each participant’s experience in WHEP culminates in a state competition in conjunction with Envirothon in April. The winning team of the state contest is then invited to participate in the National 4-H WHEP Invitational in July. The contest portion of the WHEP is divided into 4 activities, including creating a wildlife management plan, oral defense of the plan, wildlife identification, and knowledge of wildlife ecology and management.
Benefits of WHEP Include:
Wildlife conservation and management education
Enhanced confidence and self-esteem
Exposure to different regions and cultures
Exposure to natural resource issues
Leadership and citizenship skills
Communication, critical thinking, and team building skills
In the years since its inception, WHEP has become synonymous with youth conservation education. Awarded The Wildlife Society’s Conservation Education Award in 1996, WHEP is poised to further expand and involve even more youth in the future.
Contact Nicole Frey, Assistant Wildlife Extension Specialist, for more information.