Every spring the Warnell Chapter of the Wildlife Society competes in the Southeastern Student Conclave Competition. Schools from all over the southeast from as far as Arkansas and Kentucky compete, and UGA is consistently one of the highest finishers. This competition brings in the brightest students and faculty from all over the southeast in a competitive and fun environment. This year it was hosted by ABAC in Tifton, GA and I was fortunate enough to attend with 19 other students lead by a member of our great Warnell faculty in Dr. Castleberry.
With an opening night dinner concluding in a competition of duck and animal calls the festivities were under way. The next morning the team competition began with students running from station to station and having 5 minutes to solve a number of questions ranging in topic from Field Measurements, to species identification, to prescribed burning equipment and methods. The course emphasized teamwork and gave us a chance to showcase the wide range of knowledge obtained from our coursework and from outside the classroom. In total the course was just under two miles and Warnell placed first. The night concluded with a low country boil graciously hosted by ABAC that allowed students to interact with competitors from other schools and enjoy the cool Georgia spring air. As the sun set on Friday night and team competition, attention turned to the Quiz Bowl portion that Warnell had advanced through until Saturday morning.
The Warnell Wildlife Quiz Bowl team made up of Seth Cook, Ben Williams, Mischa Schultz and Kevin Hutcheson moved through to the finals of the double elimination tournament without any losses where they faced off against University of Tennessee-Martin. Quickly answering questions ranging from birds, to insects, to conservation policy, the knocked off UTM and went home with the trophy. Compiling points from Quiz Bowl, the team competition and a host of individual events including archery and orienteering, Warnell ended out finishing first and bringing home the Conclave title!
Conclave always serves as an amazing opportunity for students to be able to take what they learn in the classroom and put it to use in a fun and unique setting. It serves as a great time to build friendships with fellow students, as I know I became closer with everyone on the trip. It is always a highlight of the spring semester and something that everyone has marked on their calendars.