ESSM graduate gets ready for his last national contest

Andy James, a December graduate in Rangeland Ecology Management, is no stranger to competing in and winning contests on the regional and national level.

James, a Gatesville, Texas native, was a member of the soils judging team that placed first at the Southern Regional Soils Judging Contest in Lubbock, Texas. He placed first individually in the contest.

He also competed in the Society for Range Management Plant Identification contest held in Beaumont, Texas. The plant identification team placed first and James was the second place overall individual. In his four years on the team, James said, they have never lost a contest in the state of Texas.

At the 2009 international contest in New Mexico, the plant identification team placed second. James placed third individually in a combined contest of plant identification and the Undergraduate Range Management Exam.

After graduating, James will begin working as a Rangeland Specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Services. He interned with the NRCS during the summers of 2007 and 2009, and was offered a full-time position upon graduating.

James said he was looking forward to starting his job, but not until he competes at the national plant identification contest in Denver at the beginning of February. "We plan on winning the plant id and combined Undergraduate Range Management Exam awards this year. This is our year."

Written by Angel Futrell