Wildlife Habitat Education Program

Fawn, turtle, and duck

Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) is a hands-on, environmental education program for 4-H and FFA youth, ages 8-19. It teaches young people valuable lessons about wildlife management, conservation, leadership, team-building, citizenship, and communication. As a participant in WHEP, you will gain a greater understanding of the value of land and how it can be managed to benefit many wildlife and fish species. You can apply your skills and knowledge to create better habitats for wildlife and fish now and in the future, perhaps as a wildlife professional, a landowner, or an active volunteer in your community.


4-H WHEP (Wildlife Habitat Education Program) is a hands-on, environmental education program that teaches young people valuable lessons about wildlife management, conservation, leadership, team-building, citizenship and communication.

State 4-H WHEP Contest

  • Held each January in conjunction with 4-H Natural Resources Weekend
  • Age groups: 
    • Junior Teams (youth ages 9 – 13)   
    • Senior Teams (youth ages 14 – 19)
  • One region is selected as the focus region for the contest.   In Virginia we use either Eastern Deciduous or Southeast Mixed and Outer Coastal Plain Forest. Wetlands and Urban are always included in the contest.

Parts of the contest:

  1. Wildlife Challenge (Juniors & Seniors): The Wildlife Challenge combines wildlife identification and general knowledge. Participants visit stations where they may be presented with a wildlife specimen and questions related to the species. Participants may be asked to identify an animal by specimen or portion of specimen, photo, animal sign, or sound. Questions for the Wildlife Challenge may be from information within Concepts and Terms, Ecoregions, Wildlife Species, Wildlife Management Practices, and the Glossary.  Wildlife food items and questions pertaining to wildlife foods also may be included.  Appendix B provides definitions of various wildlife foods. Refer to species descriptions to learn what various species eat. Spelling and Capitalization – When identifying species in the Wildlife Challenge, the correct spelling, capitalization and hyphenation must be used in order to receive credit.  Refer to Index of Wildlife Species pages 69-70 for proper spelling and capitalization. 
  2. Wildlife Quiz Bowl (Juniors Only): This wildlife version of jeopardy is a fun and exciting event.  Teams of 3 – 4 members will compete against each other answering questions which may come from the Wildlife Species, the Region Information, Concepts and Terms and the Glossary. This will be a two round competition.  Round 1 will be head to head and Round 2 will be toss-up.  Individual contestants can still participate.  They will be put together to form a team or added to a 3 person team.  
  3. Wildlife Management Practices (WMP’s) & Plan Writing:
    1. Juniors – Guided session related to plan writing and wildlife management practices. (Participants will be provided reference materials –WMP pages and Species Information)
    2. Seniors – Refer to manual  for detailed explanation these parts of the contest
      1. On-Site Recommendation of Wildlife Management Practices (WMPs)
      2. Written Management Plan
      3. Oral Defense of Written Plan

National 4-H WHEP Contest

  • The top senior team at the state contest has the opportunity to attend
  • Held annually, usually the last week in July.  Location varies