U-Idaho Range Faculty, Students and Alumni Shine at International Range Meeting

Wednesday, February 13 2013

The University of Idaho Range students, faculty and alumni garnered numerous awards at the annual International Meeting of the Society for Range Management in Oklahoma City last week.

Karen Launchbaugh, professor of rangeland ecology and management and director of the U-Idaho Rangeland Center, was honored with the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award by the Range Science Education Council and the Society for Range Management (SRM).

The SRM presents the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching award annually to the individual who makes the greatest contribution to undergraduate education in the broad discipline of range science. Launchbaugh was recognized not only for her on-campus teaching, but also for the field work experiences she offers to her students and for her work helping establish a rangeland principles dual-credit freshman-level course which high school students can take for college credit.

“Karen’s passion for rangelands is second to none,” said Seth McFarland, a former student. “She is deeply committed to her students…and strives to share with her students the relationship between the science and the art of range management.”

15 U-Idaho Range club students participated in the meeting. Joe Hale (Rigby) placed third in the individual Undergraduate Public Speaking contest while Julia Workman (Grangeville) placed fourth, out of 214 participants, in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam.

Students also took top honors in team events. Workman, Chelsey Sanders (Emmett) and Hale, won the Rangeland Cup competition. Coached by rangeland professor Steve Bunting, they competed against teams from 19 other universities. The event required them to develop a poster discussing the merits of using native versus non-native plants in the restoration of disturbed sites. U-Idaho range students also won the Rangeland Cup in 2012 and 2010.

Students AJ Flint, Ashley Kiehl, Cinda Mattrocce and Cindy Vaughan placed first in the University Chapter Display contest, for which they created a display around the conference theme: “Native Rangelands, Native America.”

Two U-Idaho students, Brianne Lind (Challis) and Workman, were among only nine undergraduate students who presented technical papers. Four students also participated in the plant identification contest, during which they were asked to identify plants from a list of 200 important range plants.

U-Idaho range alumni were also honored. Meribeth Lomkin (B.S. Range ’98), a Senior Resource Specialist with the Idaho Department of Lands was named Outstanding Young Professional, while Wally Butler (M.S. Range '85), a range and livestock specialist with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, will serve as SRM president during 2013.

Lovina Roselle (M.S. Range ’07), rangeland outreach coordinator, rounded up the awards by being named Wildest Woman of the Range, which she described as an unofficial honor celebrating women in a traditionally male-dominated field.