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SAEC FFA Students Take Top Spots at Nationals

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Members of the Forestry Career Development Event (CDE) Team (Carter Carpenter and David Luck, both of Warrensburg CSD, Zachary Connelly, Queensbury UFSD, and Quinton Scott, of Granville CSD) represented the Southern Adirondack Education Center and New York State at the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana October 30-November 2. The team took home a Bronze Medal in the Team Forestry CDE. Equally impressive was that all members of the team took home Silver Medals in the Individual Forestry CDE. 

FFA stands for Future Farmers of America, and is an intracurriculum student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership. The National FFA Forestry CDE is a competitive event that tests students’ skills and knowledge in the area of forest management. Event components include a general forest knowledge exam, tree identification, timber cruising, tree/forest disorder identification, a chainsaw practicum, forestry issues interview, and team activities.

The team won the New York State FFA competition in May. Winning the state level competition was quite an accomplishment, but to go on to the national championship required remarkable dedication and determination. They had to refresh their skills and up their game.

The Bronze Medal in the team event meant they placed 3rd among their 48 state level competitors, including college age students.

4 FFA students with their advisor

Sherri Slater, the Environmental Conservation and Forestry program instructor (in photo) said the CDE contest models the preparation students are getting in her program.

“The curriculum we offer in the program fits this competition well, especially with the integrated math and English. The event offers our students great leadership opportunities,” said Slater.

“Their dedication and motivation allowed them to come to the top,” added Slater. “But the students understand it’s not a ‘top and stop,’ they have to grow,” said Slater.

The discipline students have will make them better leaders and team players. Slater said that she is also grateful to WSWHE BOCES for the support the students have had.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Zachery Connelly, a senior at Queensbury UFSD.

“We were able to build on our classroom experience and perfect it at the competition. I felt ready. Mrs. Slater really prepared us to go into the competition,” said Connelly.

The team had to be up to date with current issues in the field of forestry, not just from the Northeast, but also national forestry issues. Connelly said he enjoyed learning about invasive species in Virginia, Florida, Alaska and even Puerto Rico.  

“It was cool to see the different techniques students from around the country use. It broadened our horizons.”