While interning at RockTenn in South Carolina last summer, senior forestry major Nick Lancaster had a chance meeting with Rick Counts, regional director of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). With Counts’ encouragement, Lancaster took the initiative to establish a Virginia Tech branch of the QDMA, one of only a few collegiate branches within the 60,000-member national organization.

Lancaster, who is also a founding member of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s on-campus chapter, now serves as president of the Virginia Tech branch of QDMA, which seeks to expand its current membership of about 12 students. Representing majors ranging from forestry and wildlife conservation to crop and soil sciences and engineering, members share in their dedication to promoting sustainable, healthy deer populations and high-quality wildlife habitat.

“Our main goals are to reach out to the local hunting community, hold food plot demonstration seminars, engage the community in ways to accurately age deer in the field, and encourage harvesting healthy deer populations,” said Lancaster. An additional goal is to encourage children to practice safe hunting through educational workshops and fun activities.

The Roanoke branch of QDMA is helping the Virginia Tech branch get up to speed by subsidizing several memberships. The two branches planned a joint fundraising banquet in May. “We will be partnering with them to help them grow and become successful,” said Albert Crigger, president of the Roanoke branch.