Envirothon competition held at Camp Pecometh
CENTREVILLE — More than 16 high schools from across Maryland participated in the 2017 Envirothon state competition held at Camp Pecometh on June 15 and 16. With five-member teams, students identified soils, determined tree ages and put their studies of the natural world on display to determine which group would represent Mar yland in the national competition.
While most high schoolers across the state were enjoying their summer break, competitors from Queen Anne’s County and Kent County high schools represented the Eastern Shore in the annual environmental education event.
“Envirothon is a hands-on team based competition that gives high school students hands-on experience in natural resource subjects,” the national competition’s website states.
Kent County High School was represented by Olivia Coleman, Zach Elburn, Elizabeth Goetz, Deirdre Hylton and Jenna Novak and was coached by Liza Goetz and Tim Kelleman. Queen Anne’s County High School was represented by Caroline Draper, Filogania Martinez, Meg Williams and Hunter Scheelar and was coached by Kim Agee and Amy Trexler.
The competition is held in a different location each year. The national competition, which will take place from July 23 to 29, will be held on the campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg.
To determine who participates in the statewide competition, local Envirothon competitions are held each spring using the same format as the state and national competition. Teams can be created either through a school’s science department or a county’s Soil Conservation District.
In 40-minute stations, teams are tasked with answering questions related specifically to the five areas. Every year soils, aquatics, forestry and wildlife are stations. A “5th issue” is determined every year as the final topic. This year the topic was environmental issue.
Natural resource professionals review and grade each test. The day before the professionals observed future environmentalists in action working hand-in-hand with their teammates, a “field day” was held where natural resource professionals reviewed how they went about their work. Students from each team were sent to the various stations throughout the campgrounds to have career interactions and to learn tools on how to test and verify certain environmental assessments.
Barry Burch, chairman of the Maryland Envirothon Committee, said the students learned “authentic assessment” during their training day and saw what environmentalists did on a daily basis. Burch said past competitors have gone on to pursue education and career fields on natural resources in part because of the interactions through Envirothon.
Burch said the hands-on activities help the students learn and retain the concepts better.
Awards were given to the schools that scored highest in each of the five categories as well as overall awards for the top five point-scoring schools. The overall winners, from first to third place, are as follows: Carroll County “Venturing Crew 202,” 441 points; North Harford High School, 438 points; Montgomer y Blair High School “Duck Gizzards,” 438 points; Catoctin High School “Mudcats,” 435 points; and Eleanor Roosevelt High School, 403 points. Second and third place teams were separated using a tiebreaker.
Queen Anne’s County High School had a total score of 304 points, which got them 15th place, and Kent County High School had a total score of 330 points, good for 14th place.
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Kent County High School team members pose with a participation certificate after the 2017 Maryland Envirothon awards ceremony on Friday, June 16. From left: Coach Liza Goetz, Deirdre Hylton, Jenna Novak, Lizzy Goetz, Zach Elburn, Olivia Coleman, Coach Tim Kelleman and Karen Miller.
Queen Anne’s County High School Envirothon coaches Kim Agee and Amy Trexler stand with students Caroline Draper, Filogania Martinez, Meg Williams and Hunter Scheelar after the 2017 Maryland Envirothon awards ceremony at Camp Pecometh on Friday, June 16.