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March is known for its windy weather, but this year, Raleigh can expect a big blast from the South, as the Forestry and Timbersports Club of North Carolina State University hosts students from 14 other universities for the 55th Annual Association of Southern Forestry Clubs (ASFC) Conclave on NC State University’s Centennial Campus, March 15-17, 2012.

Jay and Lauren compete in Jack and Jill Crosscut

Jay and Lauren compete in Jack and Jill Crosscut

Southern Forestry Conclave is a tradition that started in 1958 to bring forestry schools in the southeastern U.S. together annually for the purpose of promoting cooperation and friendly competition, as well as establishing and maintaining high ethical standards among students and professional foresters (source: University of Georgia, site of the first Southern Conclave). Since its beginning, the association has grown to 15 universities, with more than 250 students and their club advisors gathering at a host school each spring for a few days of camaraderie and competition.

Mike Cheston competing in poll fell

Mike Cheston competing in poll fell

NC State University has been host to Conclave in 1965, 1974, 1987, and 1999.  “We are proud of our long tradition with Conclave,” states NC State’s Forestry and Timbersports Club President, Mike Cheston. “We were there near the beginning of it all and we can’t wait to put on a great Conclave for 2012. It will be the best one ever!”  And with the way Mike can swing an axe, who would want to argue with him!

In addition to the students competing in several academic disciplines, such as dendrology, wildlife identification, photogrammetry and timber volume estimation, Conclave includes several physical events that hark back to old-fashioned lumberjack skills such as axe throw, pole climb, cross-cut saw, and underhand chop, just to name a few. A schedule of events and parking information is provided on the 2012 Southern Forestry Conclave website. Many of the students have trained intensively for months, and it is a thrill to see them in action during these events, which require great precision and speed. NC State University students, staff, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to check out the action Friday afternoon and Saturday, but make sure to check out the parking rules before you come.

Logan Scarborough is interviewed for ESPN by Dave Jewett

Logan Scarborough is interviewed for ESPN by Dave Jewett

In recent years, STIHL TIMBERSPORTS has added to the fun and excitement by holding and televising the Collegiate and Professional Southern Qualifier at the host university during the Southern Forestry Conclave.  The Southern Collegiate Champion earns a spot among other regional champs to compete in the National Collegiate Championship. In 2011, Victor Wassack, Vice President of NC State’s Forestry and Timbersports Club, finished a close 2nd behind Virginia Tech’s Scooter Cogar (stihltimbersports.us/southern-game.aspx).  In 2010, NC State’s Logan Scarborough took both the 2010 Southern and National Collegiate Championship Titles. Scarborough (’10 Forest Management) will return to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS 2012 Southern Qualifier as a professional competitor this year, which will be held Friday, March 16, 5-10pm, at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. Visit go.ncsu.edu/timbersports for more information and tickets.  Tickets may be purchased for $10 online before March 14 at noon; after that $15 tickets will be available at the gate. NC State University Students with their NCSU Student IDs will be admitted for only $5, courtesy of a donation by the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Kids 10 and under are free. This event will be aired live, with rebroadcasts on ESPNU and the Outdoor Channel.

learning how to care for plants

Members of the Triangle Chapter of Society of American Foresters talk to the public about the benefits of trees and give away seedlings at Arbor Day Celebration

Another tradition of March is the celebration of North Carolina’s Arbor Day, which, since its designation in 1967 by the NC legislature, falls on the first Friday following March 15. To capture a slice of the excitement being stirred up by Conclave and the STIHL Qualifier, NC State University’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources will host the 2012 NC Arbor Day Celebration also at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on Friday, March 16, from 2-6pm. “The Farmers Market has become a fantastic location to hold the NC Arbor Day Celebration,” states the event’s coordinator, Renee Strnad. “This is a great opportunity to share information with the public about the importance of trees.” The NC Arbor Day Celebration is free and open to the public and will have educational exhibits, demonstrations, and activities for children. This year, the Triangle Chapter of the Society of American Foresters will give away 1000 seedlings (dogwood and crabapple). The winner of the state’s Arbor Day Poster Contest will be announced and awarded at 4:30pm, and even Smokey Bear is planning to join in the fun. Visit go.ncsu.edu/arborday2012 for more information.

So if you feel the March winds picking up and hear the howl of the Wolfpack through the trees, you can rest assured that the NC State forestry program has had big part in whipping up the excitement.

 

 

Abbreviated schedule of physical events:

Friday, March 16, 2012
Open to NC State University Community, parking restricted to Spring Hill parking NC State Centennial Campus Playing Fields 1:00 PM Knife Throw
1:30 PM Axe Throw
2:30 PM Pole Fell
3:30 PM Log Birling
Free & open to the broader public State Farmers Market in Raleigh 2:00-6:00 PM NC Arbor Day Celebration
Ticketed event State Farmers Market in Raleigh, food venders staying open late 5:00-10:00 PM STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Southern Qualifier
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Open to NC State University Community, parking restricted, MRC Parking Deck on Centennial Campus open, see website parking info NC State Centennial Campus Playing Fields 8:00 AM Chain Throw
9:00 AM Archery
10:00 AM Log Roll
11:00 AM Pole Climb
1:00 PM Women’s Bow Saw
2:00 PM Men’s Bow Saw
3:00 PM Cross Cut (Men, Jack & Jill)
4:00 PM Cross Cut (Women)
5:00 PM Underhand Chop