Horticulture is one of our state’s leading industries, and for decades, the 4-H Horticulture ID contest has helped youth learn about this industry and demonstrate mastery of horticultural identification skills. Even if a youth does not pursue a career in the horticultural industry, learning the material for this contest can benefit them in other ways. To learn more about how judging teams teach workforce skills, check out this previous blogpost.
This year, the State 4-H Horticulture Judging Contest received an extreme makeover, to expand the program to even more youth. The state contest was held this past Saturday, June 10th at the Hillsborough County Extension Office in Tampa, FL (previously, the contest was held in Gainesville during 4-H University and was only open to 4-H seniors). For the first time ever, the contest is now open to youth between the ages of 8 and 18 (juniors, intermediates, and seniors). Study materials were adapted and revised to be age appropriate, and a webinar for coaches was offered. The webinar was archived and can still be viewed by anyone interest in coaching a team.
There are five parts to the contest:
- Woody Ornamentals identification
- Flowers and Foliage identification
- Fruits and Nut identification
- Vegetable identification
- Judging classes (youth look at a group of four fruits, plants, vegetables or nuts and rank them from best quality to poorest quality).
The contest is organized by a group of University of Florida Extension Specialists and volunteers. In addition to the resources online, youth can contact their local Master Gardener Program through their local UF IFAS County Extension Office for support. Many master gardener volunteers are willing to help teach plant identification, and may be willing to serve as a coach for your club. In fact, Master Gardeners can earn bonus points towards their state contest for helping 4-H clubs and teams prepare!
If this program interests you, sign up for 4-H! 4-H is open to youth ages 5-18. Adults can join 4-H as volunteers. Florida 4-H offers a variety of volunteer roles to fit your specific interests, skills and schedule. For more info, visit http://florida4h.org or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.
- 4-H Horticulture Judging Webpage (links for study materials)
- Contest Rules
- 4-H Horticulture/Gardening Project Page
- UF IFAS Master Gardener Volunteer Program