On the relevant issue of forest fires, the Colusa County Resource Conservation District held its annual speaking competition on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Two Pierce High School students, both FFA members, participated in the competition.
“The students had to prepare a three to five minute speech on the topic: How can RCDs help landowners reduce the threat of fires?” said Colusa County RCD Executive Director, Patti Turner.
Morgan Erickson, a freshman, took first place and received a $50 cash prize. She gave her speech on providing grands to landowners for help with management and the planting of fire retardant shrubs, trees, and plants. Additionally, Erickson spoke about the importance of fire prevention clinics with communities and schools.
“I had little time to prepare for the speech,” said Erickson. “But I found most of my information while looking up wild land information.”
Emiliano Rodriguez, a senior, took second place and received a $30 cash prize. He spoke about management of wild lands and how forest fires help provide for the ecosystem by allowing new growth. Rodriguez stressed that the RCD’s is needed to help educate the appropriate management and stewardship of the lands through water conservation.
“I am interested in agriculture and conservation because it is how we can maintain our states sustainability,” Emiliano said in his application. “It is also important part of my community.”
One of the challenges Rodriguez had with the topic was speaking for those who’ve fallen victim to wildfires.
“It is difficult to speak for people who’ve lost their homes and communities from wildfires,” said Rodriguez. “You don’t know what they did or didn’t do. Wild fires are unpredictable.”
Following her win, Erickson will move on to the Regional RCD speaking competition in Woodland on Oct. 17.
“Should Morgan win the regional competition she will compete in the state contest held in San Diego on Nov. 16, for a chance to win $300 and the prestigious title,” said Turner.
The Colusa County RCD Speak-off is typically held the first week in October with the topic announced in September contestants must be a high school student, grades 9-12, must not be a prior state winner, and must have a general interest in agriculture, resource conservation, or the environment. For more information, or to be informed about future speaking competitions, contact Patti Turner at (530) 458-5131 Ext. 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.■