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Aggie Range Scientists Sweep Top Awards at Statewide Meet

Thursday, Nov. 08, 2012

USU's Plant Identification Team

USU's Plant Identification Team captured first place in student competition at the Utah Section Society for Range Management’s 2012 Fall/Winter Meeting. The team advances to international competition at the society’s annual meeting in Feb. 2013.

USU student Range Management Exam team

USU's Undergraduate Range Management Exam team bested competitors from BYU, SUU and UVU to capture first place at the Utah Section Society for Range Management’s 2012 Fall/Winter Meeting held Nov. 1-2 in Provo, Utah.

USU professor Chris Call, 2012 Utah Range Manager of the Year

Chris Call, professor in USU's Department of Wildland Resources, was named Utah’s 2012 Range Manager of the Year.

Utah State University range science students excelled in competition at the 2012 Fall/Winter Utah Section of the Society for Range Management held Nov. 1-2 at Utah Valley University in Provo.

At the gathering, the Aggies also had the opportunity to congratulate a mentor: Christopher Call, professor in USU’s Department of Wildland Resources, was named Utah’s 2012 Range Manager of the Year.

“It was a very good day for USU’s Department of Wildland Resources,” says Fee Busby, professor in the department and advisor to USU’s SRM student chapter.

In separate teams, the USU students bested competitors from Brigham Young University, Southern Utah University and Utah Valley University to capture first place in both Range Plant Identification and the Undergraduate Rangeland Management Exam.

Eleven Aggies participated in the Range Plant Identification competition, including Clayton Handy, Elizabeth Gross and Lara Kitchen, who placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the individual competition. They were joined by Daltrey Balmer, Garrett Billings, Britney Bosshardt, Dashell Burnham, Amanda Cox, Chelsea DeMarco, Shane Kitchen, Chris Lewis and Camille Waters in team competition.

In the URME competition, Kaitlin Hasler took first place and teammate Colton Grange captured third in individual competition. The victorious team also included Garrett Billings, Cari Forsgren, Lara Kitchen, Shane Kitchen, T. J. Knudson, Chris Lewis, Jordan Linnell and Kim Palmer. 

“We spent months preparing for this competition both inside and outside the classroom,” says Hasler, president of USU’s SRM student chapter. “It took a lot of effort, but Dr. Busby kept us motivated.”

Both USU teams advance to international competition at the 2013 International Society for Range Management Annual Meeting slated for Feb. 2-8 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

During the meeting, Call was recognized for his many teaching, research and extension accomplishments, along with his service to the society, Busby says.

Call, who earned a doctorate in range science from USU in 1982 and joined the university’s faculty in 1987, has taught nearly 3,000 students in 10 different courses and served as a major professor for eight doctoral students and more than 20 master’s students. He has conducted research in Pakistan and Iceland, as well as remote areas of America’s Great Basin.

“My current research involves efforts to restore native plant communities in rangelands affected by wildfire and invasive weeds,” Call says.

With his graduate students, Call has developed websites, traveling exhibits, elementary and secondary school curriculum, K-12 teacher field tours and workshops and university curriculum related to ecologically based management of invasive species and native species restoration in the Great Basin.

Related links:

Contact: Fee Busby, 435-797-2319,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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