Sam McMillan, a high school student at Anselmo-Merna, has been selected the winner of the Society for Range Management (SRM) High School Youth Forum (HSYF) paper presentation competition held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 6-10, 2022. McMillan’s 6-8 minute presentation on blowouts in the Nebraska Sandhills along with the other 16 presentations were judged by a diverse panel of judges.
Since McMillan was the top paper winner, he received an engraved plaque and a $300 scholarship. He is also invited to return to the 2023 SRM meeting in Boise, Idaho, where he will help with the Youth Forum and present his paper to the general membership of the Society. This SRM sponsored youth activity was held jointly during the 75th Annual SRM meeting.
The 2020-2022 HSYF President Chancy Hoblyn-Bittner from Ansley High School returned and presided over the Forum and moderated the activities. She was selected as President when attending the Denver SRM Conference in 2020. She received her plaque of appreciation as the outgoing president following the election of the 2022-2023 President that was elected by his peers. This year’s meeting theme was “Sustainability through Culture and Innovation”.
The SRM is an international organization that strives to promote public awareness of the importance of sound management and use of rangeland, (the world’s largest land base). In 1966 the SRM recognized a need to involve youth with the range-related activities and education provided at this annual meeting. Since that time, the HSYF has been a highlight of the SRM annual meetings. Volunteers of the SRM Student Activities Committee conduct the program.
High School delegates to the HSYF are chosen by each of the 22 individual sections of the parent society throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, based on their high degree of interest in the range and natural resources field as well as on their exemplary dedication and effort to learn more about this particular area. Sam was selected the winner of the Nebraska Section SRM in December of 2021 and was awarded this all-expense paid trip.
Rebecca Reece of Harrison, NE placed second and attended also. It is considered a high honor for those students selected, but the number of delegates that were able to attend, this year were limited due to the pandemic, 17 high schoolers from, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska were all selected by their respective Sections for participation.
While at the HSYF, they had the opportunity to meet people from many countries and get a firsthand view of what SRM is all about, including the role rangelands play on a world-wide basis.
The goals of the HSYF are:
1) provide insight for these students concerning the function and working of a professional society;
2) provide opportunities to meet Society members;
3) provide a format that encourages thinking and enhancement of communicative skills;
4) provide an opportunity to learn about range and natural resource management and future careers through interaction with Society professionals;
5) provide an opportunity to learn about the ecology and natural resources at the annual meeting site; and
6) provide an atmosphere that fosters camaraderie and lasting friendships.
While at the SRM meeting, Sam, Rebecca and Chancy attended other activities such as an ecological field tour to the Whitfield Conservation Area, the Petroglyphs National Monument, a professional interaction dinner, HSYF business meeting, and an SRM professional session. The HSYF and SRM provided an exciting, rewarding, and educational experience for all that attended.
For further information regarding the Society for Range Management, logon on to www.rangelands.org