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Rangeland Ecology students seek professional networking opportunities

March 2, 2011

Students from the Rangeland Ecology Club participated in the Range Management meeting and took home several awards this year.

Annual Society for Range Management meeting in Billings, Mont.Students from the Rangeland Ecology Club participated in the Range Management meeting in Billings, Mont. this year.

From Feb. 6-Feb. 10, 2011, most of the members of the CSU Rangeland Ecology Club, plus a handful of other Rangeland Ecology students and faculty from Warner College’s Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship, attended the annual Society for Range Management national meeting in Billings, Mont.

The meeting provided a great opportunity for students to become involved with the SRM and to learn more about rangeland resources and the field of range science. Various events and activities were designed to:

  • provide a forum for students to test their knowledge of rangeland ecology, plant identification and rangeland management;
  • provide a format that encourages syntheses of information and enhancement of communication skills;
  • create an atmosphere that fosters camaraderie, friendships and lasting relationships,
  • give students the opportunity to meet SRM members;
  • allow students to interact with range professionals and explore career opportunities;
  • provide insights concerning the functioning and working of the society; and
  • provide an opportunity to learn about the ecology and natural resources of the annual meeting location.

Highlights of the trip

Our advisor, Paul Meiman, had arranged for Club members, on the trip up to Billings in Thermopolis, Wyo., to meet with rangeland consultants, weed specialists and ranchers regarding current efforts to manage Russian olive in that area. We had hoped as well to spend some time viewing the actual areas under management, but with the weather quickly turning for the worse, we had a great lunch with our Wyoming hosts and hit the highway once again.

At the conference itself, the undergraduates entered various competitions such as the Undergraduate Range Management Examination, Plant Identification, and Extempore Speech. On Sunday, most of the students attended the Job Fair, where representatives from varying government and private organizations promoted temporary seasonal and permanent positions. Although there was little “on-the-spot” hiring as in previous years, students were able to network and connect in meaningful ways with the recruiters, and a few were specifically encouraged by the representatives to contact the agencies later for more interaction and possible interviews.

CSU student and faculty awards

  • Mae Smith took first place in the Master's Student Oral Paper Competition, with her presentation titled "Evaluation of Freeze-Thaw Dynamics in Hummocked Wetlands."
  • Corrine Knapp took second place in the PhD Student Poster Competition, which was titled "Perceptions of Targeted Grazing in the Desert Southwest."
  • Kristen Oles, a senior studying Rangeland Ecology and President of the Club, placed sixth individually in the URME.
  • The CSU team, which this year included only one returning team member, placed eighth, overall.
  • Meiman was awarded the Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Award.
  • Roy Roath was awarded the WR Chapline Land Steward Award.

Enthusiastic response from students and faculty

When asked what they enjoyed the most about making the trip, all the students were appreciative and enthusiastic. Oles stated that she “was really proud of the effort and enthusiasm the students put toward the competitions. I got to do some good networking that helped me figure out where I would like to work when I graduate and what exactly is involved with those jobs. There is a lot of excitement about students, and they give you opportunities to learn, gain experience, network, and potentially get a job. It was also really nice getting to know students in the Club better!”

According to Robert Emanuel, Club Treasurer, he "enjoyed getting to meet and learn from all of the professional people in their fields and seeing what they do." Maggie Haseman said, “I loved the dance! We got to talk to students from all around the country and from Mexico and Canada. I also made some pretty good friends from sharing many experiences with the CSU team”.

Our advisor, Meiman, stated, “It is great to see students, faculty and professionals sharing work, presenting results, discussing methods and implications, and prompting each other to dig deeper and think harder. I was very impressed with our students from CSU. Several times, SRM members came up to me and complimented our group on their willingness to get involved in the various events (posters, oral presentations, coaching, student competitions, social events) and to meet and interact with their professional colleagues.”

Contact: Michael Brumbaugh
Phone: (970) 903-0617