Park Rapids FFA takes 2nd in national forestry contest
The team's runner-up showing, including three team members placing in the top 10 individually, was the best Minnesota has ever done in that competition.
The Park Rapids FFA forestry team placed second in the country at the 95th National FFA Convention, Oct. 26-29 in Indianapolis.
According to career and technical education teacher and club co-advisor Stephen Funk, this was the best Minnesota has ever done in the FFA’s national forestry contest.
Individually, all four members of the team received gold ratings, with Allison Offerdahl placing first as an individual, Hailey Kimball fourth, Kelsey Berghuis fifth and Sean Ward 43rd out of 163 students competing.
“We are incredibly proud of them,” said Funk.
According to a national FFA press release, the top 10 individuals and the members of the national winning team received cash awards to recognize their success in their event.
The National FFA Forestry CDE (career development event) tests students’ skills and knowledge in forest management, the release states. This includes a general forest knowledge exam, tree identification, timber cruising, identifying tree and forest disorders, a practical chainsaw demonstration, an interview about forestry issues and a team activity.
Each team that made it to nationals had previously competed at local and state levels for the privilege, the release notes. The event was held partly at the Hyatt hotel in Indy and partly in a central Indiana forest, one of many educational activities at the national convention in which FFA members apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations.
The top-placing team was from Banks County, Georgia. Also in the top 10 were teams from Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, California, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Connecticut.
In addition to Offerdahl, Kimball and Berghuis, individual FFA members placing in the top 10 were also from Georgia, California, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. Besides Park Rapids, only Banks County, Ga. had more than one FFA member in the top 10.
The Park Rapids FFA is also listed among 10 gold emblem teams, and its four members were among 47 individuals to receive gold emblems. The FFA also awards silver and bronze emblems to both teams and individuals, with teams from 39 different states represented.