UW Range Students Claim Top Team at National Competition

February 24, 2012
Man smiling
UW's Sage Askin, of Douglas, was first among 203 competitors in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming was awarded the Trail Boss Award for the top collegiate team during competition at the 65th Society for Range Management (SRM) meeting in Spokane, Wash.

Additionally, two students claimed firsts, and a professor received the top teaching award. This is the first year the SRM presented the Trail Boss Award.

The UW team is composed of rangeland ecology and watershed management students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. UW teams also claimed seconds in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME) against 24 other schools and in the Rangeland Cup against 11 others.

Sage Askin, of Douglas, was first out of 203 competitors in URME. He also was a member of the second-place URME team. Ben Jones, of Denton, N.C., won the undergraduate extemporaneous speaking contest, in which there were 13 teams.

Megan Taylor, of Swainsboro, Ga., won the graduate student oral paper competition over 27 participants. Taylor's graduate paper is entitled "Rehabilitation seeding and soil dynamics associated with invasive species in a semi-desert sagebrush shrub land." She is advised by professor Ann Hild.

Travis Decker, of Craig, Colo., was elected vice president of the SRM Student Conclave (all university students). UW also claimed third place in the chapter display contest.

Professor Tom Thurow, a member of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, received the Range Science Education Council's Undergraduate Teaching Award, the top teaching award in the profession.

Associate professor Dan Rodgers is the Range Club adviser and coaches the Plant ID Team. The URME Team is coached by assistant professor Jeff Beck. Dean Houchen, a recent UW graduate in rangeland ecology and watershed management, was mentor for the Rangeland Cup Team. Associate professor Jim Waggoner assists with the extemporaneous speaking contest, and assistant professor Brain Mealor and extension range specialist Rachel Mealor coordinate the Rangeland Cup completion for SRM.

SRM is the professional society dedicated to supporting people who work with rangelands and have a commitment to their sustainable use.

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