Most Cal Poly students spent spring break relaxing by the pool or taking road trips with friends, but the logging team chose to unwind in a different way. From March 15 to 19 the logging team competed and ranked sixth in the annual Association of Western Forestry Club’s (AWFC) Forestry Conclave in Fort Collins, Colo. The team competed with 30 other forestry teams from 11 universities throughout the western United States.
In addition, three Cal Poly Forestry and Natural Resources students placed high in three events. Walter Page placed second in the Single Buck for men, which has competitors saw through a round log with a crosscut saw, Alicia Jones placed first in the Single Buck for women and Liz Fox placed first in the Power Saw for women.
The AWFC Forestry Conclave is hosted by a different university AWFC member each year. Cal Poly last hosted the conclave in 2005.
Most of Cal Poly’s logging team is made up of forestry and natural resources students, but the team welcomes all students who are interested in learning forestry skills like axe throwing, horizontal and vertical chopping and chainsawing.
Forestry and natural resources faculty member Walter Mark has been the team’s faculty adviser for years and traveled to Colorado to assist the team.
“The interaction with other schools is very rewarding. The conclave is competitive, but we don’t really think of the other teams as rivals — we encourage and help the other teams out and they do the same for us,” Mark said. “This year the team from Humboldt State University forgot their throwing axes, so we let them use ours.”
Planning for the trip is a lot of work for the team’s officers. The team begins training for the conclave in fall and practices twice a week. The team also takes trips to Swanton Pacific Ranch in Santa Cruz County to get wood for practice.
FNR senior Sarah Harrison was the team’s president last quarter during the preparation for the conclave.
“There’s a lot that needs to be arranged before the trip, like transportation and lodging for all of us during the conclave. But watching everyone practice and improve during the year is really exciting. After the competition everyone was really inspired to get practicing for next year,” Harrison said.
The team competed in several events. Alicia Jones, a Forestry and Natural Resources junior, was the team’s vice-president last quarter and took first place in the Single Buck for women.
“It’s all an accumulation of everyone’s efforts over the quarters. The whole thing was really intense and fun. I actually had no idea I’d done as well as I did at first.” Jones said.
Cal Poly will host the conclave again during spring break in 2011, and the team will need to prepare.
Forestry and Natural Resources senior Walt Page competed in the conclave for the first time this year and placed second in the Men’s Single Buck.
“We’ll either have to rebuild the facility we use for holding the competition or move it to a better place before we host next year. I think it will be great for Cal Poly to be the host school again. The conclave is a really fun experience for everyone involved, even non-forestry majors,” Page said.
The team is proud of its accomplishments at this year’s conclave, but Mark said there are ways the team can improve.
“The team did great overall, but they can definitely refine their technique and physical fitness for next year. Hosting the conclave will be our main focus next year, so the extra preparation will add more pressure,” Mark said.