Planting seeds for success


UVU Botany club members identified pressed plants, similar to the one shown above, at their recent competition. Gilbert Cisneros/UVU Review

Students from this university have once again proven their excellence at the Society for Range Management conference in Billings, Mont. The conference was held on Feb. 8, where the UVU Plant ID Team placed seventh out of 20 other schools.

The team is made up of three students: Biology education major Misty Kurtis and Botany majors Aaron Searle and Christiana Laudie. They were coached by Ally Searle, who is the school’s botany lab manager in addition to being the team adviser.

After memorizing 200 different plants all year long, students arrived at the competition to be tested on 100 pressed plants. They had 60 seconds to identify each plant correctly.

“I’m very proud of our Plant ID team. They put a lot of work into this all year,” Searle said. “They did really well against other range and agricultural schools, which says a lot about the caliber of our students.”

The team placed first in the state competition in November 2010.

Students also get the chance to network with other biology and botany students, teachers and professionals in their field of study. The Plant ID Club also provides valuable experience and networking. It also allows students the chance to present themselves to professionals and alumni agencies in their fields. This opens possible employment opportunities, much like Kurtis’ experience with the club.

“I’m very thankful for the work opportunities I’ve had,” Kurtis said. “I would not have been able to get that experience if I weren’t a part of the team. This club and competition has taught me a lot about botany in the professional sphere.”

Ally Searle said that other students interested in biology or botany should seriously consider joining the Plant ID team. With the school’s new Botany degree, Searle hopes that they will be able to draw in more students to help bolster the team’s membership. Even students deciding between majors are encouraged to join.

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