UW range management students third at international competition

The University of Wyoming placed third and five team members placed in the top 10 percent among the 158 students from 25 colleges and universities competing in the International Society for Range Management’s Undergraduate Range Management Exam.

The UW team won a tiebreaker with the University of Alberta and was one point from tying second-place South Dakota State University. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln won the event, at SRM’s meeting Feb. 3 in Sacramento, Calif.

UW students in the top 10 were Erick Ramerth, Big Lake Minn., and Kelsey Welter, Aurora, Colo., who tied for ninth, and Barbara Bender, Lake Forest Calif., who placed 10th.

“Eight of the UW students placed in the top 20 percent, and all of the UW students placed in the top half,” said Derek Scasta, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. He coached the team with Julia Workman, a plant sciences master’s student.

The students are rangeland ecology and watershed management majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and have been practicing for the competition since September, said Scasta, who is a UW Extension range specialist.

“The URME is a two-hour professional examination with six subject-specific areas and includes real-world problems requiring complex calculations,” he said.

The exam is so similar to the one taken by professionals to earn SRM’s certified professional in rangeland management designation that the exam requirement is waived for students placing in the top 10 percent and have at least five year’s experience after graduation, said Scasta.

UW team members are Jessica Windh, Reedley, Calif., Andee Leininger, La Junta, Colo., Ethan Overton, Meeker, Colo., Shelby Baumgartner, Clearmont, Amanda Lee, Flower Mound, Texas, Kelsey Welter, Aurora, Colo., Eric Ramerth, Big Lake, Minn., Barbara (BJ) Bender, Lake Forest, Calif., Nolan Hicks, Meeteetse, Shay Horton, Riverton, and Tevyn Baldwin and James Burford, both of Scottsbluff, Neb.

–University of Wyoming