Four in a row for La Plata with Evirothon win
Fourt-time champion moves to state environmental sciences competition in June
La Plata High School has racked up its fourth consecutive first place win in the Charles County Envirothon, held Thursday at Gilbert Run Regional Park in Charlotte Hall.
The annual environmental sciences competition pits teams of high school students against each other in an outdoor setting to identify and categorize plants and animals, perform soil surveys and complete other challenges.
The Charles County event, now in its 24th year, is sponsored by the Charles County Soil Conservation District.
The event features five stations where students must answer a series of questions on wildlife, aquatic life, soil, forestry and a fifth topic, which this year was agriculture soil and water conservation stewardship, said Dee Dee Saunders, administrative specialist for the Soil Conservation District and judge of the county Envirothon for 10 years.
Teams of students had 35 minutes to work at each station, using the hands-on materials provided, Saunders said.
Each school has a club dedicated to environmental issues that prepares for the annual event, Saunders said.
“We have three trainings that they come to, in Waldorf, at our soil conservation farm,” Saunders said.
Each school had two teams except for St. Charles, which had one team.
La Plata finished first, with a composite score of 455. Maurice J. McDonough High School finished second with a composite score of 422, and North Point High School finished third with a composite score of 385.
La Plata placed first in aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife, which McDonough placed first in the fifth topic.
The top two teams get a framed picture as a trophy, as well as Target gift cards for each student. The first place team also received soil district hats, Saunders said.
La Plata will also represent Charles County at the Maryland Envirothon, which is being held at Camp Pecometh in Centreville, June 15-16.
The state winner will go on to compete against teams from across the United States and Canada at the 2017 North American Envirothon, being held this year at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg July 23 through 29.
La Plata sponsor Shawn Starcher said in an email that she was extremely proud of her students for their hard work and dedication.
“I simply cannot express how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated and thoughtful young men and women like these students on my Envirothon team. The sheer number of hours and dedication they have shown to this competition truly paid off for them this year,” Starcher said. “I am unbelievably proud of these kids and so very honored that I get the chance to work with them in growing their knowledge of the world and the abundance of science that surrounds us all here in beautiful Charles County, Maryland.”
Katie Parker, a senior at McDonough, took part in Thursday’s Envirothon for the fourth and final time. She said she first became involved because her coach, Karena Bennett, was a friend of her mother.
“She said ‘You should join this; it’s pretty fun and you get to learn about a bunch of different things related to the environment.’ It’s been really cool,” Parker said.
Saunders said she hopes the experience will ghelp students have a better understanding of environmental issues.
“Some of them, it’s going to give them some professional training and experience, because some of them may be interested as a career, whether it be in natural resources, or they may go into urban development, or they may glean something else from it as well,” Saunders said.
La Plata High School senior Paige Upright works to identify bird species in the 24th Annual Charles County Envirothon, held Thursday at Gilbert Run Regional Park.
La Plata High School seniors Sabrina Myers, Robert Yorio and Kaylin Backburn, and sophomore Brandon Starcher work to identify a tree species during the 24th Annual Charles County Envirothon.
Westlake High School students Caitlyn Collins, Emma Larmon, Alayna Call, Gillian Gibson and Robert Proby work on problems in the soil station of the Charles County Envirothon Thursday.
North Point High School students Amber Wachowski and Carl Wachowski work to identify the species of aquatic creatures at the 24th Annual Charles County Envirothon Thursday.