Highest Placement in 18 Years of Competition

University of Tennessee 2016 Forestry Conclave participants

The UT Forestry Club secured a 5th place finish overall in the 2016 Forestry Conclave. It’s the best showing for the student organization over the past 18 years in the competition. Photo courtesy UTIA. Download image.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Facing stiff competition over a two-day period, the UT Forestry Club/Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters finished strong at the recent Association of Southern Forestry Clubs (ASFC) Conclave at Clemson University. 

The UT Forestry Club secured a 5th place finish overall and it’s best showing over the past 18 years in the competition. “It’s quite an accomplishment, considering a team of 9 students covered 22 events,” said Dr. David Buckley, a professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. 

In addition, the UT team earned the prestigious Outstanding Sportsmanship Award for the fourth time in six years. Teams that demonstrate a positive attitude, outstanding spirit and a willingness to mentor and assist member of other teams in a sportsmanlike manner receive the award based on a vote from officers of each team present. 

The conclave took place from March 17th -20th and in addition to UT included the following participants: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Alabama A&M, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, LSU, MSU, NC State, Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas-Monticello, Georgia and Virginia Tech.

Technical events at the ASFC conclave include compass and pacing, DBH estimation, dendrology, photogrammetry, pole classification, timber estimation, wildlife ID, and wood technology and count twice as much in the scoring as physical events.  Physical events include archery, axe throw, log birling, men’s bowsaw, women’s bowsaw, chain throw, log roll, Jack and Jill crosscut, women’s crosscut, men’s crosscut, knife throw, underhand log chop, pole climbing and pole felling. The Stihl Corporation also holds their Southern Collegiate Qualifier event concurrently with the ASFC Conclave, in which one student from each team competes in an underhand chop, standing block chop, one-man buck, and stock saw event. 

Buckley credits UT Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries’ commitment to excellence as a catalyst for the team’s strong showing.  “Our team placed higher in technical events than in recent years, which reflects well on our academic programs and contributed to their success in the overall standings,” he said. 

Senior Brady Miller placed 3rd in pole classification and seniors Emily Judson and Heather Hatcher placed 3rd in wildlife ID.  Other noteworthy accomplishments in technical events included senior Hilary Chittom ranking 4th in compass and pacing, Brady Miller ranking 5th in DBH estimation, freshman Charles Beeson ranking 5th in photogrammetry, and junior Jacob Webster ranking 7th in dendrology. 

During the physical events, sophomore Brad Nellis earned 2nd place in underhand chop and Brady Miller placed 2nd in knife throw.  Jacob Webster and Brad Nellis ranked 4th in log roll, and Heather Hatcher ranked 5th in women’s bowsaw. Hilary Chittom and Emily Judson, Brad Nellis and Emily Judson, and Brad Nellis and Jacob Lunsford each ranked 6th in women’s, Jack and Jill, and men’s crosscut saw, respectively.  

Last, but not least, Brad Nellis placed third overall in the Stihl Southern Collegiate Qualifier, with strong performances in the underhand chop, standing block chop, and one-man buck events. Brad and the UT team received a new 1-man buck saw donated by Stihl, which is traditionally awarded to rising competitors and teams by the host school.

“Our success is truly a team effort, from our co-advisors, to our club officers, to our alumni. They all did an outstanding job of planning for the trip, organizing practices at the UT Arboretum and motivating the team. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for this great group,” said Buckley.

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Dr. David Buckley, UTIA Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, 865-974-7978, dbuckley@utk.edu