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Forestry students win upper Midwest competition

A team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison created the first place capstone report in the annual Upper Midwest Capstone Competition. Michigan Tech placed second, and a UW-Madison team took 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 were seniors or graduate students when they completed their reports, which are 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 apply their knowledge to 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 industry representatives, universityfaculty, and public agency representatives selects the first-, second-, and third-place reports.

The University of Wisconsin Slashmasters” winning paper was titled Ice Age State Forest Management Plan; it came with a $1,000 award. The third-place UW-Madison team, The Driftless Edge, Consultants, received a $300 award for theirs, titled Twin Valley Farms Management and Restoration Plan.

Financial support for the program was provided by Mead Westvaco, International Paper and The Forestland Group.

The reports and program information are online here.