Back to Gainesville again for the weekend. We camped at Paynes Prairie Preserve! We took a lunchtime drive out tot he Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings estate. She wrote the Yearling. The estate was wonderful. It really felt like old Florida. We walked the orange groves and were able to sample fresh kumquats and pineapple oranges! So yummy! At the campground we took a few long walks and tried to ID all the plants and trees we could! We found a really calm yellow rat snake climbing a tree! We were up early and off to Austin Cary State Forest for the 4-H Forest Ecology State contest. I was ready! I knew all my trees, plants, forest health and animals! We had a huge team this year. It is nice to have so many new members in our group! We kicked off and were sent to our stations for the contest. I made a mistake writing down my compass bearing. I caught my mistake but it was too late. I figured I was done for. Some years this contest 1-2 points off can mean the difference between 1st and 5th place! I was excited to see I got 3rd place for my poem! I was nervous but finally came to terms with my mistake on my compass part of the contest. The names were called out and I sat quiet. 3rd, 2nd… went to other kids. suddenly my name was called for 1st place! I was SO shocked! A happy forestry kid! I am glad my error didn’t ruin my chances but I know what to do next time! Ribbons ribbons everywhere. We had a great season! We celebrated with Satchel’s pizza for a late lunch and then sunset at the UF Bathouses. It was nice to have a new friend with us. We had more oranges. These ones got stuck in our mouths! hahaThe bats flew and flew for quite a long time. This is always fascinating to me!