Alberta Environmental Sciences student scores second win

The Western Producer, March 15, 2018 by Jeremy Simes: For the second year in a row, Ryan James used his skills and smarts to win a high-profile international plant identification competition. James, a University of Alberta student formerly with Lakeland College, scored 95.1 percent this year in the North American Range Plant Identification Test to again place first. He said it was a tight race.

“Everyone in the top 10 had really close scores on the test,” he said. “We were all within five percent. I just happened to identify one more plant and make one less spelling mistake. Everyone studies quite hard for this.”

The Jan. 30 competition in Sparks, Nevada, attracted 144 university students from across North America. Competitors had one minute to view a plant, then were required to provide its name, origin, and lifespan. Some seedlings were so tiny, they needed a hand lens to see characteristics.

“There were 100 plants to identify from a set of 200 grasses, shrubs and forbs from North American rangelands,” James said.

As well as placing first, his score helped the University of Alberta’s Range Team place second in the team competition. The top three individual scores were averaged to create the team score. Read more about Ryan James success in The Western Producer.