The Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) was well represented at the 2020 High School Youth Forum (HSYF) held in Denver on February 16-20, 2020. The HSYF is an integral part of the SRM annual meeting. This year there were 22 delegates representing 11 of the SRM Sections. During the Forum, high school youth from all part of the western United States and Canada attended an ecological field tour and were invited to participate and interact among the various professionals and college students attending the meeting.

This year the Colorado Section SRM sponsored three delegates to Denver. Daisy Medina of Rocky Ford FFA, Braden Wedel of the Stratton FFA, and Austin March of Fowler FFA were selected to participate in the SRM Forum. (See picture below). All three delegates were chosen based on their exceptional achievements in rangeland management programs, and specifically based on their high individual scores on ecological site judging & plant identification at the Eastern Colorado State FFA rangeland judging Career Development Event (CDE).

The goals of the HSYF are to recognize youth for outstanding accomplishments in range management activities and to provide young people the opportunity to discuss rangelands, career options, and meet with leaders in the field of range management. One requirement of the HSYF is that each delegate must write a paper and then present an illustrated talk on some aspect of rangeland conservation or grazing management.
 
Daisy’s presentation was titled Managing the Rangeland of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site.
 
Daisy talked about the range management practices being implemented on Fort Carson’s Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site located south of La Junta. She emphasized that proper management of the rangeland is important to maintaining this fragile environment so that the necessary training of our military can continue.

Braden was honored with fourth place in the paper presentation contest at the SRM awards ceremony for his presentation! (See picture below). His presentation was titled “A Case Study of the Livingston Ranch: 2019 Leopold Conservation Award Recipient.”

Braden highlighted the Livingston Ranch located in Kit Carson County where he lives. He talked about the holistic range management being implement on the ranch and how it is making the ranch more profitable. He emphasized that the Livingstons have shown how good range management practices can improve the land for ranchers, cattle and wildlife.

Austin was honored with fifth place in the paper presentation contest at the SRM awards ceremony for his presentation. His presentation was titled “Wild Horses on the Range.”
 
During his presentation Austin talked about the history of wild horses in North America. He emphasized that today, due to legislation that protects wild horses on federal rangelands, the over population of wild horses has resulted in degraded rangeland and unhealthy horses. He concluded that the population of these feral horses must be managed to maintain a healthy ecosystem while protecting and maintaining healthy wild horses.

All three of their papers can be viewed at the CO Section’s website at www.cssrm.org/. The Colorado Section SRM congratulates Daisy, Braden, and Austin for their outstanding achievements in range management and wishes them the best as they further pursue their ambitions in the field of natural resource management. Contact Ben Berlinger (719-469-3895), Youth Activities Chairman, for more information about the SRM High School Youth Forum.