Students enrolled in ENCS 407: Rangeland Plant Communities of North America compete in the Range Team competitions held in conjunction with the Society for Range Management annual meeting.
The competition is comprised of two exams:
- The Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME) is a comprehensive exam that requires students to synthesize knowledge acquired throughout their studies in resource management, and encompasses topics such as range ecology, grazing management, range improvement, North American range regions and issues arising from managing landscapes for multiple uses.
- The Plant Identification exam is annually created by former long-time U of A Range Team coach, Dr. Barry Irving, where students are required to correctly identify 100 challenging plant samples from a total of 200 important rangeland grass, forb and shrub species found across North America. They also record the species origin and longevity, and correctly spell its scientific name.
2022 Range Team - Albuquerque, New Mexico & Online Hybrid Meeting
Students in ENCS 407, the precursor course for the Range Team, attended class in-person in Sept 2021 to learn plant identification the usual way: with a hand lens and plant mounts from the class herbarium. However, by Jan 2022 the Range Team exam preparations were forced online when the University of Alberta closed to in-person classes due to the rise in Covid-19 case numbers. As a result, our students were unable to travel to the USA in February 2022 to attend the SRM Annual Meeting held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Several other schools from Canada and Mexico were also unable to attend in person, but competed in online proctored exams. A total of 18 university teams participated: 103 students wrote the Plant Identification exam and 140 students wrote the Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME).
Our 7-member team placed 2nd on the URME and 3rd on the Plant Identification Exam. Two team members also won individual awards: Katherine Johnson won 1st Place on the URME and 1st Place on the Combined Award (combined high scores on both the URME and Plant ID exams); Fengxue (Riley) Zheng won 5th place on the Combined Award. Despite another challenging year of online exams, U of A students excelled! Congratulations Range Team 2022!
2021 Range Team - Virtual meeting
Since mid-March 2020, University of Alberta students have had the majority of their classes converted to online platforms because of the Covid-19 pandemic and ENCS 407, the precursor course for the Range Team students, was no exception. Students had the extraordinary hurdle of learning plant identification using photos, plant herbarium websites, texts, and online live-stream video of herbarium mounts. The annual SRM meeting was also a virtual meeting: New Frontiers was held Feb 15-18, 2021 . A total of 15 university teams participated: approx. 70 students wrote the online live-stream and real-time Plant Identification exam and 77 students wrote the online Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME).
Our 4-member team placed in the Superior Academic Achievement category (>80% avg) on Plant Identification and 4th place on the URME. Two team members also won individual awards: Anabel Dombro won Outstanding Academic Achievement (>90%) on Plant ID; 4th place on URME; and 1st place on the combined award (combined high scores on both URME and Plant ID) and Kayleigh Lien won 5th place on the combined awards. Congratulations to all the team members for excellence in Range Management and Plant identification!
Left to Right: Anabel Dombro, T. Cole Christie, Kayleigh Lien, and Ilana Music.
2020 Range Team - Denver, Colorado
While many students were enjoying time off for Family Day and Reading Week, our range students were studying and writing exams. The annual SRM meeting was held in Denver, Colorado in February 16-20, 2020. A total of 25 university teams participated: 106 students wrote the Plant Identification exam and 189 students wrote the Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME).
Our 7-member team won several awards! They placed 2nd overall on Plant Identification and 5th on URME, and three team members won individual awards: Anabel Dombro (5th place) on Plant ID; Anabel Dombro (1st place), Rosheen Tetzlaff (2nd place), and Mary Villeneuve (3rd place) for the combined high scores on Plant ID and URME. Congratulations to all the team members!
Special thanks to Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum for generously sponsoring the U of A Range Team!
2019 Range Team - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Our 8-member all women team won several awards this year! In addition to placing 2nd overall on Plant Identification and 4th on URME, three team members won individual awards: Katrina Holt (1st place), Rosheen Tetzlaff (3rd place), and Megan Johns (5th place) for the combined high scores on Plant ID and URME. Congratulations to all the team members for your success!
2018 Range Team - Sparks, Nevada
The 13-member 2018 Range Team competed in both exams in Sparks, Nevada. Ryan James received the 1st place award for plant identification (for the second year in a row!) and two students received combined awards when scores for plant identification and undergraduate exams are combined: Presley Peacock received 3rd place and Sally Thomas received 4th place! The U of A Range Team placed 2nd for plant identification as a combined team effort out of 24 competing universities! Congratulations Team!