Humboldt State University Continues Quiz Bowl Winning Streak

By Dana Kobilinsky

Humboldt State University winners show off their prize, a bear illustration, for winning first place at the Quiz Bowl at The Wildlife Society’s 22nd Annual Conference in Winnipeg. ©Jonathan Wiens

It took three months of endless studying and practice competitions for the Humboldt State University team to ace the 2015 Quiz Bowl at The Wildlife Society’s 22nd annual conference in Winnipeg for the second time in a row and the 11th time overall.

“Winning the Quiz Bowl was exciting,” said Abby Rutrough, a wildlife biology undergraduate student at Humboldt. “There were so many smart and well-rounded teams, playing them was fun and challenging.”

Humboldt made it to the final round of the Quiz Bowl, a friendly tournament between over 20 universities where students are tested on their knowledge about all things wildlife, from taxonomy to wildlife management. The team from California was up against five wildlife biology students from Ontario’s Lakehead University in the final round. “I was personally very surprised that we won that night because of how impressive the other schools were,” said Humboldt’s Alexander Robinson. “At no point did I feel confident that we were going to win until the time ran out for the last match.”

TWS Council members on the president’s and the past president’s team compete to see who knows the most about wildlife, which ended up in lots of laughter.

TWS Council members on the president’s and the past president’s team compete to see who knows the most about wildlife, which ended up in lots of laughter.

Quiz Bowl participants answered questions that ranged from “What is the highest honor you can receive as a wildlife biologist?” to “Can you identify four different species of warblers by their photograph?” Participants were also shown samples of wildlife specimens to identify as part of some questions. Humboldt’s team emerged with a total score of 210-35 against Lakehead after nearly six hours of battling it out with other schools. Other teams competing included schools such as the University of Tennessee, the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech and the University of Winnipeg.

The winners thanked their student chapters for helping them achieve the big win. “My proudest moment was coming back to our group after the first game,” Rutrough said. “Our fellow students vote for who will be on the Quiz Bowl team and they put a lot of faith in us, so it was amazing to see how happy and proud that first win made everyone.” The students prepared for the competition by taking a three unit course at their university in which they competed in mock tournaments.

While nerves may have been high for some students, being able to share their knowledge and passion for wildlife made the Quiz Bowl worthwhile. The Geezer Bowl — an event where TWS council members on either the president’s or past-president’s team compete for who knows the most about wildlife that took place during a break in the middle of the Quiz Bowl — was another highlight of the night that ended in plenty of laughs.

The winners received two plaques — one to put up at their school and one that’s displayed at The Wildlife Society headquarters in Bethesda, Md. “My proudest moment was seeing the happiness and relief of my teammates on stage when the timer buzzed and ended the final match against Lakehead University,” said Jane Wong, an alternate on the Humboldt team. “I knew they were stressed and nervous but they kept the legacy and made our school proud.”

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

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