CSU SAF Alpha Student Chapter Wins National Award for Club Engagement and Outreach Efforts

With more than 800 trees planted, $2,000 raised in firewood fundraising and a long list of outreach activities each semester, Colorado State University’s Society of American Foresters Alpha Student Chapter is earning national recognition in natural resource management and forestry excellence. The Society of American Foresters awarded CSU’s SAF Alpha Student Chapter with the second place Outstanding Student Chapter Award for 2011-2012, and will formally present the national award to the student organization at the SAF National Convention in Spokane, Wash. this month.

One of more than 80 student SAF student chapters across the nation, the CSU student club was selected for the award through a rigorous and comprehensive application process that evaluates student chapters’ accomplishments and embodiment of the SAF mission and values. Factors that contributed to the CSU chapter’s win were its outstanding club officers, extensive volunteer hours, well-organized community service projects, membership engagement and retention – even after graduation – and involvement and collaboration with fellow student and professional SAF chapters and related organizations.

“The SAF Alpha Student Chapter at CSU is a student organization comprised of hard-working and academically motivated students who will become future land managers and conscientious natural resource professionals,” said current chapter chair Steph Berry, a CSU senior studying forest management. “I am honored to be involved with a group of students who embody the traditions of land stewardship, community involvement, and dedication to creative and collaborative resource management."

CSU’s SAF alpha student chapter has more than 30 active members who participated in events throughout the year such as: the Colorado State Forest Service Forestry Fair; building the CSU Homecoming Bonfire; holiday tree cutting and deliveries to families in need; tree planting projects; helping to teach forestry field courses; an Arbor Day and Tree Campus USA celebration; and an annual Boy Scout Forestry Field Day where young scouts get hands-on forestry experience.

“This club has a great legacy of leadership, involvement, and dedication to the advancement of the forestry field, and I am so proud of this amazing team of student and pleased to know that they are the future of the forestry profession,” said Jamie Dahl, CSU SAF alpha student chapter faculty advisor. “CSU’s SAF Alpha Student Chapter provides fulfilling learning opportunities and new experiences for students to work together with their peers, gain hands-on forestry knowledge, and make an impact on the community at the same time.”

Chapter members credited for driving the club’s winning application process include past chapter chair and CSU alum Raechel Owens and CSU alum Tara Costanzo.

“I have a lot of pride in my involvement with CSU’s SAF alpha student chapter, and wanted the club to be recognized for its dedicated members who always go above and beyond to support the forestry field,” said Owens. “Being a member and officer of this organization allowed me to apply knowledge from the classroom to real-world experiences and develop life-long connections that have made a valuable impact on my career.”

Owens graduated from CSU with a Bachelor of Science in forest management in summer 2012 and now works full-time in Boulder, Colo., as a forester for the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information about CSU’s Society of American Foresters Alpha Student Chapter, visit http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/saf-asc-home.