Students from four high schools in the San Juan School district compete and learn at Natural Resources Field Day

A group of students stands together looking at a document out on the landscape.
Jed Carling, Range Management Specialist with the BLM teaching students how to collect vegetation data and how this information is used at Natural Resources Day Competition in Oct. 2023.

On Thurs. Oct. 19, 10 teams of 45 students from across San Juan County participated in a natural resources management and science field day at the BLM’s San Island Campground outside of Bluff, Utah. Throughout the day students learned resource management principles and techniques at five unique stations. Professionals from the Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service in wildlife, water, fire, grazing and recreation lead each station.

At each station, the students learned about careers in land management and sciences in addition to how science is used to make decisions on public lands. Following the presentations, students completed a challenge giving them some hands-on experience.  After each team had visited all five stations, the students were given a written test to assess what they had learned through the day.  The cumulative average score from each team was how the winner of the scholarships were determined. 

Student stand in a group learning about wildlife out on the landscape with a Forest Service Biologist.
USDA Forest Service Wildlife biologist, Ada Cruz Valencia instructs a team of students on identifying wildlife with signs such a nests, scat and tracks.

“This is the second time we have been able to put together this event for our students and we were excited by the increase in the number of students that participated,” said Jamie Carling Monticello High School Science Teacher. “Our students took this competition seriously and each station did a great job teaching them new skills and how to think critically about challenges that are part of public land management.”  

“Much of this event was made possible through funding we were able to secure through the Canyonland Natural History Association, as we were able to cover travel costs and provide some substantial scholarship awards” said Tina Marian, Bureau of Land Management Assistant Field Manager for Resources. “This event is a great way for our local public land management employees to connect with the local youth and hopefully spark an interest in learning more about natural resource management as a career choice.” 

Students collect water samples along the San Juan River in Utah.
Student teams collected water from the San Juan River to be tested at the hydrology station.

CNHA is a non-profit organization, which assists the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management in their education and visitor efforts. Proceeds from sales support these agencies’ educational, interpretive, and scientific programs. While all the students left the event with more knowledge about natural resources, teams from San Juan Highschool won 1st ($500 each student) and 2nd place ($300 each student) and a team from Monticello took 3rd place ($200 each student). 

  • 1st place team members: Anthony Done, Elise Dalley, Everett Nielson, Magenta Crane and RJ Dalley 
  • 2nd place team members: Jessica Black, Noah Begay, Rose Kartchner and Wyatt Keith 
  • 3rd place team members: Ayla Carling, Curtis Bunker, Jesse Pettit, Kaden Pehrson and Marah Long 
Students sit on folding chairs outside listening to a firefighter talk at Natural Resources Day event.
Students participate in the fire station with BLM Firefighter Paul Plemons.

We are grateful to everyone who made this event possible, including our partners, the students who attended and the specialists who shared their knowledge with attendees.  

Tina Marian, BLM Monticello Assistant Field Manager for Resources

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