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Georgia 4-H Forestry Field Day Manual

Lonnie E. Varnedoe, Public Service Assistant, The University of Georgia
Kim D. Coder, Professor of Forestry, The University of Georgia
David J. Moorhead, Professor of Forestry, The University of Georgia

The University of Georgia, Extension Forest Resources, Bulletin FOR96-029, 1996, 52 pp.

Contest Events:
3. Pacing:

Pacing, which is determining distance by walking along a line is an important tool for the forester. Once you learn the average length of your pace you can easily and rapidly estimate distances in the woods and field. In the 4-H Forestry Field Day Contest, Juniors will pace between given points and estimate the total distance between them.

Determining Your Pace:

Measure and set stakes feet apart on a generally level field, then walk from one end of the 100 foot line to the other with a natural walking gait. Do this at least five times, each time recording the number of steps or paces (2 steps = 1 pace) it took you to cover the 100 foot distance. Add these up and divide by the number of trips to determine the average number of paces or steps to cover 100 feet. Divide 100 feet by the average number of paces or steps to determine the number of feet per pace or step. See Table 4.

Table 4. Example for determining the average number of feet per acre.

Trip Number of Paces
1 50
2 49
3 50
4 51
5 49
Total 249
Average Number of Paces in 100 ft. 249 ÷ 5 = 49.8 paces
Average Number of ft. per acre 100 ÷ 49.8 = 2 ft.

In this example, each pace is equal to 2 feet. With that information distances can be determined. For example, to step off the 66 feet from the base of a tree to determine its height using a tree scale stick, it would take 33 paces (33 paces X 2 ft/pace = 66 feet).

In the pacing portion of the contest contestants will pace between several points or stakes and will be asked to determine the total distance between them as shown below.

In Table 5, the total distance between the three stations is 206 feet which is the answer you should write on your score card.

Table 5. Pacing contest example. Contestant has a 2 foot average pace.

of Paces
Distance in Feet
Number of Paces X 2 ft./pace
A to B 18 36
B to C 53 106
C to D 37 74
  Total 206

Compass and Pacing for Seniors:

Participants will be given 3 compass bearings and distances. From a designated starting point they will follow these bearings and distances. Only a hand compass will be allowed. The end of each participant's course will be designated by a letter or number. The end point must then be recorded. A course longer than 200 feet is desirable. The person ending the course nearest the correct point will be the individual winner. The distance each individual misses the termination point will be added together. The team with the lowest total for its best three participants will be the winner.


After selecting the event site, the distance of the course can be determined. Starting stakes should be placed and several bearing and distances determined. The length of each course should be approximately the same. Each course should contain three bearings. Compasses may be provided, or each contestant may bring his/her own. The judge's compass will be the standard. Each contestant is responsible to compare his/her own compass with the judge's compass standard. A 100-foot distance may be marked off so contestants may check their pace. Tell each contestant where they should start from and give them a card or sheet with the three bearings and distances. The termination point should be marked so that the judge can check it for accuracy. The judge will record the distance of the termination point from the point where it should have been.

Materials and Equiptment

Silva ranger-type compasses, Score sheets, Flagging

Contest Rules

  1. Determine your number of paces per 100 feet on a practice course prior to the contest.

  2. Instructions will be given to the contestants prior to beginning the course. The contestant will do the following:
    • Complete line measurements (distance and bearing)
    • Record measurements on score sheet
    • Return course sheets to official

  3. Contestants can use only the following equipment:
    • Silva ranger-type compass
    • Pencil and clip board
    • Score sheet, Electronic calculators

  4. The course layout will consist of three lines. Contestants will pace the lines using a compass for directions. Bearings and distances will be followed and the ending point identified.

  5. The time limit for this event is at the discretion of the forestry judge(s)

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