Efforts by MSU forest resource graduate students recognized


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Posted: 12/12/2008


A graduate student team in Mississippi State's College of Forest Resources is being honored by an international scientific and educational association.

The Wildlife Society recently presented the university group with its 2008 Special Recognition Service Award for the inaugural Natural Resources Graduate Student Symposium it organized on campus in March.

In addition to providing students at MSU and other institutions with opportunities to showcase their research projects in the natural resources, the symposium featured professional development workshops and introductory sessions with potential employers, among other activities.

"The students did an outstanding job on the symposium, while also working on their graduate research," said Bruce Leopold, MSU wildlife and fisheries department head. The event drew some 150 individuals from 15 states and 13 universities, he added.

Leopold, who also is TWS's vice president, said it was a high personal honor "to present this prestigious award to Mississippi State University students." Founded in 1937, the society is a non-profit organization working to promote excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

The second MSU graduate student symposium will be held on campus Feb. 25-27.

Symposium team members honored with the award include wildlife and fisheries doctoral students Heath M. Hagy of Frederick, Okla., and Jessica Tegt of St. Francis, Wisc.; and forestry doctoral student David W. Wilkinson of Dayton, Wash.

Wildlife and fisheries master's students Susan F. Baker of Richardson, Texas, and Alicia J. Wiseman of Shannon, along with forest products master's student Robert J. Bucci of Tupelo, were others being recognized.

In a separate event, forestry doctoral student Prakash Nepal of Biratnagar, Nepal, finished in third place among more than 100 others in a visual display competition held as part of the Society of American Foresters' national convention. MSU was among some 40 universities represented in the student challenge.

Under the direction of assistant professor Robert Grala and associate professor Donald Grebner, Nepal is investigating the financial trade-offs associated with carbon sequestration in trees and wood products.

Carbon sequestration is a method to provide long-term storage of carbon dioxide. Planting new trees, improving forest management and promoting long-life wood products can provide immediate reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Nepal's research has found that existing Mississippi forests, when harvested and thinned to increase carbon storage, may be able to accumulate about four billion tons of carbon dioxide by the year 2093.

Founded in 1900, SAF is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession.

For information on the 2009 Natural Resources Graduate Student Symposium, contact Jessica Tegt at 662-325-1000 or jtegt@cfr.msstate.edu.

For information on Nepal's research, contact Dr. Grala at 662-325-7039 or rgrala@cfr.msstate.edu.

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