02-22-18 High School Youth Benefit from Rangeland Management Forum in Reno, Nevada

High School Youth Benefit from Rangeland Management Forum in Reno, Nevada

By Ben Berlinger, Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management, Youth Activities Chair

The Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) was well represented at the 2018 High School Youth Forum (HSYF) held in Reno, NV on January 28 through February 1, 2018.  The HSYF is an integral part of the SRM annual meeting.  This year there were 24 delegates representing 12 of the SRM Sections.  During the Forum, high school youth from all part of the western United States and Canada attend an ecological field tour, and are invited to participate and interact among the various professionals and college students attending the meeting. 

This year the Colorado Section SRM sponsored three delegates to Reno.  Jacquelin Alvey of Fowler, Sennon Wallace also from Fowler, and Cecil Shannon of Kim were selected to participate in the SRM Forum.  (See picture below).  All three delegates were chosen based on their exceptional achievements in rangeland management programs, and specifically based on their high individual scores on ecological site judging & plant identification at the Eastern Colorado State FFA rangeland judging contests.

(Left to Right) Jacquelin Alvey, Cecil Shannon, and Sennon Wallace. These three High School youth represented the Colorado Section SRM at the 2018 SRM High School Youth Forum held in Reno, NV on January 28-February 1, 2018. During the field tour activity the students learned about the ecology of the Rangelands of northwestern Nevada.

The goals of the HSYF are to recognize youth for outstanding accomplishments in range management activities and to provide young people the opportunity to discus rangelands, career options, and meet with leaders in the field of range management.  One requirement of the HSYF is that each delegate must write a paper and then present an illustrated talk on some aspect of rangeland conservation or grazing management.

Jacquelin’s presentation was titled Range Management: A BIG Deal?

Jacquelin talked about how, out of her two high school years of being exposed to range management, she has learned a lot. She explains that her FFA range management involvement has allowed her to really dig deep and gain more knowledge. This knowledge includes more information about rangeland plants, types of grazing management practices used, and the environmental benefits of range management.  She concluded that yes, range management IS a BIG deal!

Sennon’s presentation was titled The Ranch with a Successful Plan.

She talked about the Bret Grey Ranch located in Lincoln County.  After visiting the ranch and interviewing Louis Martin, ranch manager, Sennon highlighted the unique history of the ranch, holistic management goals, and the implementation of ultra-high stock density grazing strategy (mob grazing) that is being used to improve the health of the riparian areas and wetlands on the ranch. She concludes that the mob grazing strategy has been a successful tool on the Bret Grey Ranch.

Cecil was honored with THIRD PLACE at the SRM awards ceremony for his presentation!  (See picture below).  His presentation was titled Brush Management: A Now Important Management Practice. 

Cecil Shannon displays his third place award for his presentation on brush management and how the practice is being implemented on his family’s ranch near Kim. His plaque was presented at the awards ceremony during the conference.

During his presentation Cecil talked about how the control of increaser native shrubs and trees has become very popular and is playing a major role in range science.  He highlighted the brush control efforts that his family has implemented on their ranch in southeast Colorado.  One-seed juniper has been targeted for control using both mechanical means and controlled fire.  Cecil discussed the many benefits from implementing brush management such as increased forage production, improved wildlife habitat, and reduced risk of devastating wildland fires.

All three of their papers can be accessed at the CO Section’s website at www.cssrm.org/.  The Colorado Section SRM congratulates Jacquelin, Sennon, and Cecil for their outstanding achievements in range management and wishes them the best as they further pursue their ambitions in the field of natural resource management.  Contact Ben Berlinger (719-469-3895), Youth Activities Chairman, for more information about the SRM High School Youth Forum.

Written & submitted to the BARN by:

Ben Berlinger, Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management, Youth Activities Chair