Area 4-H and FFA members participated in a plant identification, collection and range judging contest at Chadron State College July 12. Ten youth from four communities and several adult leaders attended the event co-sponsored by CSC, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Nebraska Extension.

Dr. Tony Perlinski, CSC assistant professor of Applied Sciences, said he was impressed with the students’ eagerness to learn about plants’ lifespans, origins, seasons of growth and value and importance for livestock and wildlife. He and other professionals from sponsoring entities showed students about 40 different species during the morning walk near the Rangeland Complex.

“That’s quite a few plants for some of the younger participants, but it was definitely fun to see the students get excited when they recognized a plant from the morning during the contest in the afternoon,” Perlinski said. “I was also really thrilled to overhear a student telling a parent how much fun they had learning all the different plants.”

Perlinski and Laure Sinn, Range program coordinator, are both planning additional youth agricultural events on campus.

“Events like this align well with the CSC mission and let the faculty and students in the range program share our expertise in the region too,” Perlinski said. “We’ve been working on campus to foster collaborative efforts with the USFS for the past two years and I’ve seen some great things come out of those efforts. Kim Dolatta (of the USFS) and extension educators Jack Aterburn and Terri Lemmon, did a great job.”

He said the CSC Ag Club has worked with the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resource District and the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition to host a Range Day the past two years, featuring speakers addressing pertinent range management issues. The club will host the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management’s annual meeting Oct. 17-19.

“There are a lot of people who work in rangeland management throughout the state who are excited to come see what we have going on in the new facilities and the program,” Perlinski said.