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Published February 25, 2019
The University of Wyoming undergraduate chapter for the Society for Range Management (SRM) bested 26 other universities to win the coveted Trail Boss Award at the SRM’s 72nd annual meeting in Minneapolis earlier this month.
Fourteen students attended under the advising of Derek Scasta, assistant professor and UW Extension rangeland specialist, and Jessica Windh, graduate student in agricultural and applied economics, from Reedley, Calif. Universities represented were from Canada, Mexico and the United States.
“The Trail Boss is the highest award an undergraduate team can obtain,” says club President Jaycie Arndt, of Buffalo.
This award is presented to the college that generates the highest aggregate score for accomplishment and participation in the collegiate student activities during the SRM’s annual conference.
Attendees besides Arndt included Morgan Elsom and Jordan Skovgard, from Buffalo; Caleb Gray, Averi Reynolds and Elijah True, from Casper; Nathaniel Nixon, from Crawford, Neb.; Michael Edwards, from Laramie; Evan Trotter, from Littleton, Colo.; Abby Gettinger, from Newcastle; Ryan Benjamin, from Nyssa, Ore.; Tyler Jones, from Rozet; Jake Disney, from Sundance; and Karen Lambert, from Upton.
This award is presented with a traveling trophy. The UW Range Club in 2012 also brought home the trophy, making UW one of only two universities in North America to have done so, Scasta says.
Students competed in a variety of contests, including the Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME); extemporaneous speaking; plant identification; and the rangeland cup, a team problem-solving contest.
Arndt placed 10th on the URME, and Benjamin placed seventh. The team, including Arndt, Benjamin, Lambert and Trotter, placed sixth overall on the URME.
Arndt placed first in the extemporaneous speaking contest.
The plant identification team of Skovgard, Gettinger, Jones and Disney placed eighth.
Disney, Skovgard, Jones and Arndt placed second in the rangeland cup poster.
“Students also can participate in a number of noncompetitive activities, including an oral scientific presentation and the student conclave,” Scasta says.
Reynolds, Gettinger, Edwards, Skovgard and Arndt participated in the undergraduate research presentations at the conference.
The UW Range Club also had four members elected into leadership positions for 2019-2020. Benjamin and Jones will serve on the Student Conclave. Reynolds and Arndt were elected as officers for the Young Professionals Conclave.
“It takes a lot of dedication and cumulative hard work from an entire program to reach this level of success,” Arndt says. “I am very thankful to the University of Wyoming, the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and all of our club members for helping the range club achieve this.”