Logan Allen, Chase Zimmerman, Brenna Zimmerman, Ethan Eccles, Bryce Zimmerman and Arn Eccles pose following their showings at the 4-H Wildlife Habitat competition on April 8. Submitted photo

A Gardner boy bagged first place at the state 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation contest April 8.
Ethan Eccles, Gardner, traveled with four other Johnson County 4-H’ers to compete at the Tallgrass Prairie National preserve near Strong City, Kans.
This was the first year Johnson County 4-H youth participated in the contest.
Eccles, 12, took first place in the junior division. The junior team took second place. Members of the junior team are: Ethan Eccles, Brenna Zimmerman, 12, De Soto, Chase Zimmerman, 11, De Soto  and Logan Allen,11, Gardner.  Bryce Zimmerman, 14, De Soto, participated in the senior division.
The 4-H Wildlife Habitat Evaluation contest teaches young people about wildlife, the needs of wildlife and their habitat. The major objectives of the event are for youth to gain an understanding of wildlife management, including ecological principles, basic life history, and the use of management techniques to enhance habitats, and for participants to develop leadership skills. The were four main components to this year’s contest were:  identifying foods eaten by wildlife;  ranking wildlife habitat by observing aerial photos; choosing wildlife management practices for certain species; and writing a one-page management plan.
Mark Seeley, County Extension Agent/4-H, accompanied the team, as did the team’s 4-H Shooting Sports Hunting Skills Instructor, Arn Eccles, who coached. Team members enjoyed a beautiful day at the preserve, including a short bus tour to see the bison herd.