HAGERSTOWN, MD (June 23, 2006) – A five-member team of students from Clear Spring High School is the winner of the 16th annual Maryland Envirothon—an outdoor natural resources competition that challenges students to identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys and solve other complex natural resource issues. More than 100 challengers from 18 counties across Maryland took part in this year’s competition.
The event was held June 20-22 at the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center in Brandywine. As winners of the Maryland Envirothon, the Clear Spring team members Rebecca Funk, Sondra Lavigne, Amy Ridenour, Derek Hanes, and Adam Reid will represent the state at the 2006 Canon Envirothon, which will be hosted at the University of Manitoba/ Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on July 23-29, 2006. The students will be accompanied by teacher/advisors Susan Lowery and Terrie Shank. More than 50 teams from the United States and Canada are expected to compete at the national event. During the past five years, Maryland teams have consistently placed in the top ten percent at national competitions.
The Maryland Envirothon is held once a year at an outdoor environmental education center. Students taking part in the competition have been studying Maryland’s natural resources for the past year in hopes of winning. Working in teams of five with one to two alternates, students are trained and tested in four natural resource areas including soils, aquatics, forestry and wildlife plus an environmental issue that changes from year to year.
This year’s special environmental issue is "Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate". Each team’s knowledge is tested under the supervision of foresters, soil scientists and wildlife specialists. Teamwork, problem solving and presentation skills are evaluated as each team offers a panel of judges an oral presentation containing recommendations for solving an environmental challenge. The team with the highest cumulative total wins the competition and the opportunity to represent Maryland at the Canon Envirothon.
At this year’s competition the Clear Spring team scored 559.00 points out of a possible 600. They were followed by teams from Allegany County (514.50 points), Harford County (510.33 points), Montgomery County (506.50), and Prince George’s County (500.00) points.
Members of the top three teams were awarded scholarships ranging form $500 to $200 through the Chaney Foundation Scholarship program. In addition, winning team members received wildlife prints, fleece vest and other prizes.
Established in 1991, the objectives of the Maryland Envirothon are twofold—to test students’ environmental knowledge and understanding of state resource issues and to instill a desire to learn more about the natural world. Winning teams compete at the local, state and international levels. The first Envirothon competition was held in Pennsylvania in 1979.
Since then more than 30 states, Canada and Australia have embraced the program and sent teams to the international competition. The Maryland Envirothon is sponsored by the Maryland Association of Soil conservation Districts and the State Soil Conservation Committee. Contributors and supporters include the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Garrett Community College, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
On the web at: http://www.mascd.net/envirothon
See also: the Washington County Soil Conservation District link for their local 2006 Envirothon Event information.