MSU forestry student group maintains high national ranking

By: Sarah Buckleitner

Back to News

Posted: 11/3/2015

MSU forestry student group maintains high national ranking Photo By: David Ammon

The Society of American Foresters again is recognizing its Mississippi State student chapter as one of the nation's best.

The land-grant university group recently took second place in SAF's 2015 outstanding student chapter competition. This latest award represents the 17th consecutive year in which the MSU group has placed among the top three finalists.

Founded in 1909, the Bethesda, Maryland-based non-profit organization is the main U.S. accreditor for bachelor's and master's degree programs in professional forestry. For more, see

SAF membership includes more than 30 student chapters nationwide. A demonstrated commitment to the forestry profession and community service activities are among criteria for top chapter recognitions.

"Two of the main elements that have contributed to this chapter's success are the students' dedication and sense of pride," said Andrew W. Ezell. "The club is involved in a number of activities, oriented both toward the profession of forestry and service within the community."

Ezell, who heads the forestry department in MSU's College of Forest Resources, cited several examples of chapter activities that have helped maintain the leadership status. Among others, they include:

  • Organization of the annual campus Arbor Day observance;
  • Continuing work to help identify and catalog tree varieties at MSU, which hold a Tree Campus USA designation;
  • Providing special training for local troops of Cub and Boy scouts, and
  • Participating in Project Learning Tree, a national initiative focused on environmental literacy among teachers and school groups.

Ezell said chapter members also are active at the professional level, including attendance at annual SAF national conferences. The group also served as host earlier this year for the Association of Southern Forestry Conclave, an annual competition that tests the skills and knowledge of forestry majors, he added.

Associate professor Robert K. Grala, the chapter's faculty adviser, praised SAF for providing "an excellent platform for all students interested in forestry and natural resources."

By working closely with the college and department, as well as Mississippi State as a whole, he said the national organization helps "stir interest in forestry, recruit new students and promote SAF values."

For more on the MSU student chapter, visit

Information about the College of Forest Resources is found at; the forestry department, at