The University of Wyoming undergraduate chapter for the Society for Range Management bested 26 other universities to win the coveted Trail Boss Award at the Society for Range Management’s 72nd annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., earlier this month.
Fourteen students attended under the advising of Derek Scasta, assistant professor and University of Wyoming Extension rangeland specialist, and Jessica Windh, graduate student in agricultural and applied economics, from Reedley, Calif. Universities represented colleges in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
“The Trail Boss is the highest award an undergraduate team can obtain,” said 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 annual conference.
Attendees besides Arndt included Jordan Skovgard and Morgan Elsom from Buffalo, Averi Reynolds, Caleb Gray and Elijah True from Casper, Ryan Benjamin from Nyssa, Ore., Michael Edwards from Laramie, Nathaniel Nixon from Crawford, Neb., Karen Lambert from Upton, Evan Trotter from Littleton, Colo., Abby Gettinger from Newcastle, Tyler Jones from Rozet, and Jake Disney from Sundance.
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 said.
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 can also participate in a number of non-competitive activities including an oral scientific presentation and the student conclave,” Scasta said.
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 2019-20. 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 said. “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.”