Teams of forestry students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Iowa State University tied for second place in the third annual Upper Midwest Capstone Report Award Competition.
Capstone courses require students to integrate knowledge from courses throughout the curriculum, and to synthesize their knowledge in order to solve a complex land or resource management problem. The capstone award program was developed as a means of recognizing the hard work of the forestry students and stimulating them to aim high in their expectations, according to program administrator Jeff Stier, chair of the Department of Forest Ecology and Management at the UW-Madison.
Most of the projects involved developing a land and resource management plan for a “client.” Each team faced a different set of landowner objectives and a different property.
The UW-Madison team, Benji Brye of Middleton, Wis., Jessica Lengling of Milwaukee, Etsuko Nonaka of Japan, and Josh Scherer of Somerset, Wis., developed a management plan for a 457-acre property in Dane County owned by Swamplovers, Inc. The property contains a mix of forest, wetlands, and crop and fallow fields. The team”s recommendations addressed management of forests, prairies and wetlands, provision of recreation and aesthetics, and the cost and income implications. The four corporate shareholders had different interests so the team had to provide a balanced plan and also determine how to improve the degraded woodland that characterizes some of the property.