Seven high schools from all over Vermont participated in the Envirothon competition at Farm and Wilderness Camps May 13. The Envirothon is a hands-on natural resource competition that helps high school students focus on Vermont’s environmental issues related to forestry, wildlife, soils and water resources through real-world learning in a teamwork environment. This year, first place went to People’s Academy in Morrisville. Their score of 473 points earned them a trip to Heifer International Farm in Rutland, VT, where they will represent the state at the Inaugural New England Regional Gathering.
During the school year, teams study all these topics to prepare for the event. They also conduct research in their communities on a natural resource theme, and then report their results in an oral presentation to a panel of judges at the Envirothon. The theme, which changes annually, is based on current issues and trends in the natural resources fields. The theme for this year’s Envirothon was local sustainable agriculture.
The winning team created a partnership between its school’s food service staff and Snug Valley Farm, a producer of local, grass-fed beef, and farm-raised pork. The students sold Snug Valley Farm’s pork and beef to community members, and with the profit earned, purchased Snug Valley ground beef for the school cafeteria. The donation enabled the school’s food manager to add more local fruits and vegetables because it freed up a portion of the school’s food budget. These high school juniors will leave this sustainable system as their legacy.
Total team scores are cumulative from all exams and the score from the oral presentation, and competition is tough. “Our goal is to connect young people to the natural world and to get them fired up about the natural resources field as a potential career path,” said Carrie Riker, the Vermont Envirothon coordinator. “Based on the number of high school students running around outside with clipboards on a rainy cold day, I would say they are doing a great job.”
Other scores from the day were as follows:
First Overall: People’s Academy B
Second Overall: Websterville Baptist School
Third Overall: Bellows Falls High School
Current Issue/Orals: People’s Academy B
Aquatics: People’s Academy B
Forestry: Bellows Falls High School
Soils: People’s Academy A
Wildlife: Websterville Baptist School
Team Spirit: Rutland High School
Alternates: Bellows Falls Alternates
For further information, please contact Rebecca Phelps, Conservation Education Coordinator for the Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, or visit the Vermont Envirothon website at: www.vacd.org/vermont-envirothon.