A team of forestry students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has taken first place in the fifth annual Upper Midwest Capstone Report Award Competition.
Student teams from Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University, and the UW-Madison submitted reports from their capstone courses to a panel of seven judges. Each team developed a land and resource management plan for a “client.” The reports were evaluated on quality of writing, ease of comprehension by the educated layperson, technical rigor, and sense of land stewardship.
The UW-Madison team of Maximillan Ashwill of Monona, Wis.; Jamie Duro of Barrington, Ill.; Michael Amman of Cross Plains, Wis.; and Joseph Schwartz of Wausaukee, Wis.; was awarded first place for their management plan for the Cross Plains Ice Age Reserve just west of Madison, Wis. The Ice Age Reserve is a 125-acre property situated at the end of a terminal moraine. The variable topography and soils have created a diverse range of forest conditions within a relatively small area. The students were seniors majoring in Forest Science when they completed the report while taking the Integrated Resource Management course taught by Jeff Stier in the Department of Forest Ecology and Management.
The two teams from Michigan Tech tied for second place with their management plans for property owned by the Lake Superior Land Company in Keweenaw, County, Mich.
The first place team received a $500 award and the second place teams $125. Prizes are split equally among team members.
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 students and stimulating them to aim high in their efforts. The instructors in the courses for which the capstone reports are produced all agree that the regional competition has been a strong motivating force and that the quality of reports has increased steadily since the competition started.
Financial support for the program was provided by the Georgia-Pacific Corporation and Steigerwaldt Land Services in Wisconsin and the Pella Corporation in Iowa. The panel of seven judges included representatives of the sponsors, university faculty, and state and federal foresters.