The 2018 National FFA Convention Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis was attended this year by the Marshfield FFA.
The Environmental and Natural Resources team coached by Tim Heeg earned a bronze rating. Kaitlyn Kuse earned a silver individual rating and bronze individual ratings were awarded to Micach Pachal, Jackson Schmidt, and Aman Bassi.
As a team, they presented on an analysis of the Paris Climate Accord, practicums on soils, wildlife, waste management, water quality and GPS use, identification of a variety of species, tools and tracks, and were tested on topics related to their field.
“Students learn a lot of the skills for this competition from various classes they have taken over the years at MHS,” said Heeg. “The ones that help the most are Wildlife Management and AP Environmental Science. I also arrange practices with the students whenever we can to work on specifics of the contest. To prepare for the state contest that they won to get to nationals, we had local farmers with backgrounds with the environmental topic we needed to learn come into school to meet with the team to teach them about it.”
That state contest included most of the topics of the national competition as well as a presentation on Buena Vista Prairie Chicken Habitat and how to manage it and preserve the prairie chicken.
“We were hoping to do better than bronze at Nationals, but it was difficult this year because most of the team that had won the state competition last spring were now in college and unable to get away from classes for the four days necessary for this competition, so I had to find replacements for three of the four members of the team,” said Heeg. “It was very gratifying though to see Kaitlyn Kuse, one of those replacements, earn a silver rating as an individual.”
He coaches the team since it fits in well with the Wildlife Management course he teaches. “Since finding out about the Wisconsin Envirothon contest a few years ago, which is our state competition in this area, I really love that competition because it allows the students to apply the different things they’ve learned through agricultural and science courses they’ve taken over the years.”
The FFA Forestry Team earned a silver rating. Silver ratings were earned by Jared Oemig and Jenna Jakobi as individuals, and bronze individual ratings to Lauren Cook and Dylan Krug. As part of the contest, the team presented on issues facing urban foresters, tree identification and measurement, forest products, orienteering, and were tested on forestry topics.
Skills and concepts are learned during a forestry class taught at the Marshfield High School by Mark Zee, who recruits four high-performing students that are also FFA members to compete in the Fox Valley Technical College Forestry contest and later at the State FFA Forestry Career Development Event at UW-Madison.
“They won the state contest last spring to earn the right to compete in the National FFA Forestry Career Development Event at the National FFA Convention,” said Zee.
FFA Alumni was recognized as one of the top six Alumni Affiliates in the nation and was a 2018 Region 3 Finalist.