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Wildlife Habitat Education Program

Wildlife Habitat Education Program

WHEP is the only national youth program that teaches wildlife and fish habitat management with a scientifically-based curriculum created and managed by wildlife and fisheries professionals. The WHEP manual encourages youth to apply knowledge, concepts, and terminology in real-world outdoor settings by combining theory with applied management. During the contests, students compete in individual and team events on species identification, management practices, general species knowledge, a written management plan, and an oral defense of the written plan. The WHEP provides youth the capacity to make a lifetime of responsible environmental and community stewardship.

WV 4-H/FFA Members: See Judging Contest General Rules for specific team composition, entry, state eligibility, etc.

The information found in the National WHEP Manual is provided for learning wildlife habitat management concepts and to prepare participants for both the state and national contest. While it is beneficial to use other sources for training, the contest will only cover material presented in the manual. The 2018 WV WHEP Contest will cover the Eastern Deciduous Forest, Urban, and Wetland Ecoregions (i.e. the contest will not cover species found outside of the Eastern Deciduous Forest, Urban, or Wetland Ecoregions). However it is important to understand the information found within the Concepts and Terms, Eastern Deciduous Forest Ecoregion, Wetland Ecoregion, Urban Ecoregion, Wildlife Species, Wildlife Management Practices, and Glossary sections.

Download the National WHEP Manual 

WHEN: Friday, April 28th, 2023

WHERE: Natural Resources Center (NRC) on the WVU Research Forest

Counties will be responsible for meals, travel, and any needed lodging.

Register Here!

Registration Deadline: Friday, April 14, 2023


  • Registration at NRC Building | 10:00-10:15 am
  • Orientation | 10:15-10:30 am
  • Wildlife Management Practices | 10:30-11:30 am
  • Lunch on your own | 11:30-12:30 pm
  • Wildlife Challenge | 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Team Plan Activity during scoring | 1:30-2:30 pm
  • Awards & Homeward Bound | 2:30-*3:30 pm
These times are subject to change


WHEP is an event which gives practical experience in the following:

  1. Wildlife terms and concepts
  2. Wildlife habitat
  3. How to judge the quality of wildlife habitat
  4. Wildlife habitat management practices
  5. Wildlife damage management


  1. Appropriate awards are presented.
  2. The winning 4-H and FFA senior team is eligible to represent West Virginia in the national contest.
  3. Financial support for the team to attend the national contest is dependent upon the 2023 budget allocation.

THE CONTEST:  The WHEP contest is conducted over 1 full day and includes 2 individual events and 1 team event. For 2023, the written wildlife management plan will not count toward final scores .

  • Wildlife Challenge– participants compete as individuals to identify wildlife species using photos, specimens, parts of specimens or calls. Participants are then tested on their knowledge of topics ranging from wildlife habitat for select species to management practices that benefit wildlife.
  • Wildlife Management Practices – participants compete as individuals and are taken to an outdoor site with defined boundaries and are asked to evaluate the quality of habitat for select wildlife species. Based on each participant’s site evaluation, he/she is asked to recommend wildlife management practices that will benefit each select wildlife species.
  • Written Wildlife Management Plan – participants compete as a team to write a 2-page management plan for an outdoor site with defined boundaries that meets objectives established in a field conditions sheet provided to each team.

Directions: Take Exit 15 off I-68 at Coopers Rock State Forest . Eastbound – turn left off exit ramp. Westbound – turn right off exit ramp. Turn right at T. Take the next left (Sand Springs Road/University Research Forest). Go approximately 2 miles. Natural Resources Center (MWNRC) is on left just over the covered bridge.

Sheldon Owen, National WHEP committee member and West Virginia WHEP Coordinator, at 304-293-2990 or email Sheldon.