The Western National Rangeland CDE is a premier range judging event that is uniquely designed to be relevant to issues faced by land managers on western rangelands. Rangeland landscapes dominate Western North America and yet most people who live near, or even on rangelands know little about the resources they provide or principles of their management.
This hands-on event has a contemporary field component with five categories:
- plant identification and ecological site description
- rangeland management
- habitat evaluation for domestic grazers
- habitat evaluation for wildlife
- stocking rate and management recommendations.
Students also participate in a rangeland career exploration activity involving direct interaction with professionals from several natural resource management agencies and organizations.
The goal of this contest is to raise awareness about rangelands and introduce career opportunities to high school students. Connecting youth with rangeland professionals is a solid pathway to attracting students to career opportunities on the range and one approach to increasing the number of rangeland professionals ready to enter the workforce. Participants can also apply the knowledge they have gained to the areas in which they live, work, and recreate.