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Shipunov mentors MHS students for international forest contest

Two Minot High School seniors, Brandon Christman and Allison Rabe, will represent the United States through Sept. 11 at the 11th International Junior Forest Contest in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alexey Shipunov, Minot State University biology assistant professor, mentored the students by providing data samples and assisting in data analysis. Joe Super, the students’ Envirothon advisor, aided with the project and will accompany the students to Russia.

"We were notified of this opportunity by the North Dakota Forest Service. We knew this contest was a highly competitive process and that there was to be only one representative team from each country. But, with the assistance of Dr. Shipunov and the data he collected, augmented with the data Brandon and I collected, we were able to complete a relevant scientific research paper with enough value to be selected,” Rabe said. “Through this project, we turned the devastation of the Minot flood into information that can help mitigate flood damage in the future."

The students’ research paper, “The Ecological Impact of Flooding: A Study of Tree Damage,” which was selected by the Russian Federal Forestry Agency to compete, examines factors that determine damage sustained by trees in a flood event. Christman and Rabe evaluated relationships between tree height and damage, water height and damage, Genus and damage and native or nonnative trees and damage.

The major goals of the contest are to contribute to the cooperation of international youth in the exchange of forestry knowledge, and to draw attention to forest issues. At the competition, more than 50 countries will present their research to a panel; the 10 best presentations will win awards. The contest began Sept. 8 and ends Sept. 12.

Published: 09/10/14

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