Home Community News

Competition Opens Up the Outdoors for Area Students

102

Portage County – The 2014 Northeast Ohio Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition that provides area high schoolers with a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about environmental conservation and sustainability. The event features an “ecostation” format, where students travel to five outdoor stations to answer questions from the content areas of Soils, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatics, and Environmental Issues. The students’ work is graded, and the top four teams move on to the State competition.  The State competition has the same format, but is spread over a two-day period. This year’s State Envirothon will be held on June 9th & 10th at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County.  The winning team from the State competition will move on to the National Canon North American Envirothon which will be held July 20-24, 2014 at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia.

According to Lynn Vogel from Portage SWCD, “For about 15 years there has been an intra-county competition among Portage schools.  We have a trophy that the winning team keeps for the year  – kind of a Stanley Cup thing.” Vogel would love to see more Portage County students and educators participate in this valuable program. Chris Carman, Science Teacher at Roosevelt High School (RHS) in Kent, feels the same way.

Carman is the advisor of the RHS Environmental Club, which began participating in the Envirothon in 2009.  “I think that Envirothon has value because it turns what many students may see as mundane topics – soils, trees, wildlife, aquatic ecology – into a competition.  There are so many teams competing that students realize how important these topics actually are,” explains Carman. He continues, “It also gets them out of the building and interacting with other students who have a similar interest in environmental issues.” Carman continued, “I encourage my students to talk to the experts hosting the event so they can see that there are real careers available in these fields.”

Carman explained that each school could enter up to two teams in the competition each year. “That first year,” Carman stated, “both of our teams scored near the bottom because we had no idea what the competition was about.” Then, due to budget cuts over the next two years, Carman’s team was unable to attend the competition. In 2012, Portage SWCD began providing area teams with transportation, which enabled RHS to participate, and to dominate, over the last two competitions.

Carman shared, “I put together a team of Environmental Club members as well as some students who were taking Environmental Science to prepare for the AP exam.  We also had some interest from students in our Urban Forestry career technical program.” The competition served to motivate his students. “Our senior team was really into the competition and enjoyed studying and preparing for it, so they did much better that year,” Carman beamed. That team ranked 28th out of 64 teams, earning the highest score in Portage County.  As a result of the win, more student interest was generated, which helped Carman build a strong team the following year.

“In 2013, I put together two new teams from Environmental Club members, my best Environmental Science students, two of the best Urban Forestry students, and three very smart seniors who had previously approached me about developing an iPhone app,” marveled Carman. “I was working with those guys on the Verizon Innovative App Competition, so I convinced them to join up with Envirothon, and they put a lot of effort into memorizing facts about Ohio wildlife and learning how to read soil charts.” In 2013, the RHS senior team scored 15th overall out of 51 teams competing, and were only one question per test away from being in the top five.  2014 will be RHS’s fourth year participating in the Envirothon.

“It’s nice to see these kids be successful in something outside the traditional classroom and athletics, because it can help build their confidence if they see the fruits of their labors recognized beyond just a letter grade,” concludes Carman.  Teams from Waterloo, Windham and Southeast have been participating for years, and Ravenna’s team earned an impressive second place in Portage County during their first year in the 2013 competition.

The ODNR, Division of Soil & Water Resources, and the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts sponsor the 2014 Northeast Ohio Area II Envirothon.  It will be held on Wednesday, April 30 at Bronson-Norwalk Conservation Club, Norwalk, Ohio. Portage County high schools may send up to two, five-member teams. Homeschool groups are also encouraged to participate, with students currently in grades 9 through 12 or equivalent home school ranking by April 30th eligible to compete. The Portage SWCD Board of Supervisors provides transportation assistance to participating teams. For more information about the Envirothon, contact the Portage Soil and Water Conservation District office at 330-297-7633 or email Lynn Vogel at lvogel@portageswcd.org.

“I think it would be great if every school in Portage County competed, not necessarily because I want to make it harder on my team, but because I think it’s a fun experience for everyone involved,” beamed Carman. “It can open doors for students that they may not have known existed,” he continued. “Besides, they get to be outside during a school day and even get a free lunch – what could be wrong with that?”

Portage-County-Envirothon-2013

Portage County – The 2014 Northeast Ohio Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition that provides area high schoolers with a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about environmental conservation and sustainability. The event features an “ecostation” format, where students travel to five outdoor stations to answer questions from the content areas of Soils, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatics, and Environmental Issues. The students’ work is graded, and the top four teams move on to the State competition.  The State competition has the same format, but is spread over a two-day period. This year’s State Envirothon will be held on June 9th & 10th at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County.  The winning team from the State competition will move on to the National Canon North American Envirothon which will be held July 20-24, 2014 at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia.

According to Lynn Vogel from Portage SWCD, “For about 15 years there has been an intra-county competition among Portage schools.  We have a trophy that the winning team keeps for the year  – kind of a Stanley Cup thing.” Vogel would love to see more Portage County students and educators participate in this valuable program. Chris Carman, Science Teacher at Roosevelt High School (RHS) in Kent, feels the same way.

Carman is the advisor of the RHS Environmental Club, which began participating in the Envirothon in 2009.  “I think that Envirothon has value because it turns what many students may see as mundane topics – soils, trees, wildlife, aquatic ecology – into a competition.  There are so many teams competing that students realize how important these topics actually are,” explains Carman. He continues, “It also gets them out of the building and interacting with other students who have a similar interest in environmental issues.” Carman continued, “I encourage my students to talk to the experts hosting the event so they can see that there are real careers available in these fields.”

Carman explained that each school could enter up to two teams in the competition each year. “That first year,” Carman stated, “both of our teams scored near the bottom because we had no idea what the competition was about.” Then, due to budget cuts over the next two years, Carman’s team was unable to attend the competition. In 2012, Portage SWCD began providing area teams with transportation, which enabled RHS to participate, and to dominate, over the last two competitions.

Carman shared, “I put together a team of Environmental Club members as well as some students who were taking Environmental Science to prepare for the AP exam.  We also had some interest from students in our Urban Forestry career technical program.” The competition served to motivate his students. “Our senior team was really into the competition and enjoyed studying and preparing for it, so they did much better that year,” Carman beamed. That team ranked 28th out of 64 teams, earning the highest score in Portage County.  As a result of the win, more student interest was generated, which helped Carman build a strong team the following year.

“In 2013, I put together two new teams from Environmental Club members, my best Environmental Science students, two of the best Urban Forestry students, and three very smart seniors who had previously approached me about developing an iPhone app,” marveled Carman. “I was working with those guys on the Verizon Innovative App Competition, so I convinced them to join up with Envirothon, and they put a lot of effort into memorizing facts about Ohio wildlife and learning how to read soil charts.” In 2013, the RHS senior team scored 15th overall out of 51 teams competing, and were only one question per test away from being in the top five.  2014 will be RHS’s fourth year participating in the Envirothon.

“It’s nice to see these kids be successful in something outside the traditional classroom and athletics, because it can help build their confidence if they see the fruits of their labors recognized beyond just a letter grade,” concludes Carman.  Teams from Waterloo, Windham and Southeast have been participating for years, and Ravenna’s team earned an impressive second place in Portage County during their first year in the 2013 competition.

The ODNR, Division of Soil & Water Resources, and the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts sponsor the 2014 Northeast Ohio Area II Envirothon.  It will be held on Wednesday, April 30 at Bronson-Norwalk Conservation Club, Norwalk, Ohio. Portage County high schools may send up to two, five-member teams. Homeschool groups are also encouraged to participate, with students currently in grades 9 through 12 or equivalent home school ranking by April 30th eligible to compete. The Portage SWCD Board of Supervisors provides transportation assistance to participating teams. For more information about the Envirothon, contact the Portage Soil and Water Conservation District office at 330-297-7633 or email Lynn Vogel at lvogel@portageswcd.org.

“I think it would be great if every school in Portage County competed, not necessarily because I want to make it harder on my team, but because I think it’s a fun experience for everyone involved,” beamed Carman. “It can open doors for students that they may not have known existed,” he continued. “Besides, they get to be outside during a school day and even get a free lunch – what could be wrong with that?”

 

Reader Responses

responses

SIMILAR ARTICLES

183

162