Friday, November 2, 2012

Columbia FFA Forestry Team takes first place at National Convention.

The Forestry team of Stephen Bennett (RBHS),  Benjamin Carpenter (HHS) Tory Chasteen (RBHS) and Quinn Pestle (RBHS) took first place in the Forestry Career Development Event at the 85th  FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, IN. The National FFA Forestry CDE is a competitive event that test students’ skill and knowledge in the area of forest management. Event components include a general forest knowledge exam, tree identification, timber cruising, tree/forest disorders identification, a chainsaw practicum, forestry issues interview and a team activity. The contest was held at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis, IN.

Advisor Larry Henneke said this is the fourth time Columbia FFA has won the Forestry CDE at the national level, the last time being in 2010.

Each team member received $1.000.00 for being on the first place team, along with cash prizes for individually placing in the top ten. Benjamin Carpenter placed 2nd, Stephen Bennett placed 3rd, and Tory Chasteen placed 4th.  Stephen Bennett was also recognized with an award for Overall Skill Practicum.

Corporate sponsors John Deere and Husqvarna hosted the awards banquet and provided the cash awards. Each team member was also presented with a commemorative engraved ax and Protective Apparel Powerkit by Husqvarna. In addition, Husqvarna has offered to conduct a  2 day tree felling school in Columbia to demonstrate safe tree cutting practices.

Qualifying for a national event is quite an accomplishment. The interested students began practicing 3 afternoons a week from late January through March when the final team was selected based on their placings in spring contests. The top four competed at the district level, advanced to state and finally to nationals. Studying on their own throughout the summer, team practices resumed this fall, with college students Ben and Tory making special trips home for that purpose.Their determination, focus and commitment to the team, set these hardworking young men apart from the competition.

  Ben Carpenter, Tory Chasteen, Stephen Bennett and Quinn Pestle

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