Members of the Park Rapids FFA brought home third-place honors in two categories at their first contests since starting the club this year.

The invitational contest took place at the 50th annual Agriculture and Natural Resources Activities Day on Dec. 6 at the University of Minnesota – Crookston, which brought in students from across Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Placing third in the fish and wildlife competition were Park Rapids team members Naomi Knaack, McKenzie Girtz, Max Crist, Eli DeVore, Tanner Hensel and Chris Bruce. They had to identify mammals, birds, fish, insects, reptiles and amphibians as well as take a written exam.

Park Rapids team members (from left) Kelsey Berghuis, Haley Nevala, Hailey Kimball, Matt Lichter and Isaac Zinniel placed third in the FFA forestry contest Dec. 6 in Crookston. (Submitted photo)
Park Rapids team members (from left) Kelsey Berghuis, Haley Nevala, Hailey Kimball, Matt Lichter and Isaac Zinniel placed third in the FFA forestry contest Dec. 6 in Crookston. (Submitted photo)

Their teammates in the forestry contest also took third place. Kelsey Berghuis, Hailey Kimball, Matt Lichter, Haley Nevala and Isaac Zinniel had to identify Minnesota tree species, sometimes with nothing more than a bare twig. They also identified wood samples from a variety of tree species, forest industry tools and equipment, and took a written exam about the industry.

Madison Carey represented Park Rapids in the floriculture contest, which included a written exam about horticulture, greenhouse and floral design practices, identifying plants, working with floral arrangements and solving math problems relating to material needs and pricing.

Roman Martinson and Kelsey Raidt comprised the Park Rapids team for the small animals contest, focusing on breeds of dogs, cats, birds, fish and reptiles that people keep as pets. They also took a test about animal care and identified veterinarians’ tools and practices.

Park Rapids FFA advisor Stephen Funk said his team has improved in all three areas represented by the FFA motto – leadership, personal growth and career success.

“I am incredibly proud of their efforts,” said Funk. “Bringing home some plaques to hang on the wall is the cherry on top, but bringing home students that are more ready for the world than when we left that morning is what this organization is all about.”