STURGIS, SD – Matea Gordon, sophomore at Sturgis Brown High School, has been selected by the South Dakota section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) to participate in the High School Youth Forum (HSYF). This year’s 73rd annual meeting is to be held in Denver, Colo., Feb. 16-20 with the theme “A New Look, Transformation and Translation.”
The SRM is an international organization that strives to promote public awareness of the importance of sound management and use of rangeland, the world’s largest land base. The South Dakota SRM section has a membership that includes producers and range professionals from a variety of organizations, including South Dakota State University, the Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the United States Forest Service.
High School delegates to the HSYF are chosen by each of the 21 individual sections of the parent society throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, based on their high degree of interest in the range and natural resources field as well as on their exemplary dedication and effort to learn more about this particular area. Selection for HSYF is considered a high honor since the number of delegates that can attend each year is limited. While at the HSYF, they will have the opportunity to meet people from several countries and get a firsthand view of what SRM is about including its organization, goals and the role it plays on a world-wide basis.
Gordon has participated in South Dakota Rangeland Days since she was eight years old. She is also an active FFA member and currently serves as a South Dakota State 4-H Ambassador.
While in Denver, Gordon will share her speech on the use of prescribed burning as a beneficial tool on rangelands. She conducted a survey of South Dakotans’ perceptions toward prescribed fires within the state, especially to control invasive species such as eastern red cedar on range. Gordon found that most citizens within the state are supportive of this land management tool.
As one of the more important activities, Gordon and other delegates will compete in a paper presentation competition with the content covering a range-related topic. The top five papers will be recognized at the SRM awards ceremony. The top paper winner is invited to return to next year’s meeting to help with the forum and present their paper to the general membership of the Society. In addition, other activities will include a local ecological field tour of the meeting site and a program to enhance communication skills.