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University of Wisconsin-Madison forestry students win Upper Midwest Capstone Competition

Matthew Burczyk, Amy Jahnke, Katie McMahon and Samuel Nitz from the University of Wisconsin-Madison were selected as authors of the first place capstone report in the annual Upper Midwest Capstone Competition. A team from Michigan Tech placed second; teams from Iowa State and from Michigan Tech tied for third place.

Purdue University, Iowa State, Michigan Technological University, and the UW-Madison all have capstone courses or sequences that require senior students working in teams to integrate their knowledge of natural resources while solving a forestry problem using holistic decision making.

The UW-Madison students completed the report as a requirement of the Integrated Resource Management course taught by Jeff Stier in the Department of Forest Ecology and Management.

This award program recognizes excellence in the final written paper from the best student teams in capstone courses. 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 has been driven by the desire of forestry educators, forest industry, and public agencies for students to enter the workplace with quality instruction and educational experiences involving advanced problem solving, integration of environmental and socio-economic factors, sustaining forest resources and products, and effective team work, according to Stier.

Each university submits a maximum of two papers to the judging committee as well as a summary of the objective of each paper. At the end of the academic year, a committee of three industry representatives, two university judges, and two public agency representatives select the first-, second-, and third-place reports. The UW-Madison team”s winning paper was titled Plastic Ingenuity Management Plan.

The first place team received a $1,000 prize. Financial support for the program was provided by Mead Westvaco, the Michigan Association of Timbermen, Rush”s Forest Products, Suchovsky Logging, the Timber Products Company, and the Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.

The reports and program information are online here.
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