Portage County high school students from Southeast, Waterloo, Crestwood, Ravenna, and Kent Roosevelt recently competed in the Northeast Ohio Area 2 Envirothon competition at Buffalo Creek Retreat in Medina.
According to Crestwood High School faculty advisor Andy Brown, “Crestwood was the high scoring team in Aquatics and finished second in Wildlife and Forestry.” Crestwood’s final team score was 102 points, which was a mere two points away from first place winners Chardon High School.
The Envirothon is a national, academic, outdoor competition for high school students, which is designed to stimulate, reinforce and enhance interest in the environment and natural resources. The Envirothon tests students’ knowledge of natural resources in five categories, where students compete through team problem solving activities. While each student on an Envirothon team is challenged to contribute his or her personal best, the score that counts at the end of an Envirothon is the team score.
The Envirothon ended up being a huge success,” shared Mr. Brown. He noted that Crestwood High School competed in the Envirothon roughly 10 years prior, finishing second in the county and 18th overall. He continued, “This year, Karli Bigler and Alyssa Blake wanted to organize and train a team as part of a senior project. They recruited for a few weeks before getting commitments from fellow senior Catherine Hoover and juniors Sara Miller, Austin Shaffer, and Frank Fugman. Since a team can only consist of five members, Frank acted as our alternate.”
The team ‘Crestwood Monkey Wrench Gang’ traveled to Buffalo Creek Park in Seville on May 3rd, along with four other Portage County schools to compete. The competition consisted of the usual four categories of Forestry, Aquatics, Wildlife, and Soil along with the current environmental issue of Agriculture. Each category features a roughly 25-question test that is written by professionals in the field. The questions focus on real-world applications rather than simple memorization of the subject matter. As a part of the competition, students were asked to identify organisms, distinguish problem areas, and specify uses of resources, habitats, and more. The scores from each category were combined for an overall team score.
“Crestwood now holds the honor of achieving the highest ranking of any Portage County school to compete in the Area 2 Envirothon,” beamed Lynn Vogel from PSWCD. “Crestwood students did an amazing job at Envirothon this year,” she continued. “Two students, Alyssa Blake and Karli Bigler, were very instrumental in pulling the team together. These two girls are awesome! Congratulations Crestwood students and their advisor Andy Brown — I’m very proud!”
Crestwood’s performance qualified them for the State Tournament, which will be held on June 12th and 13th in Circleville. “As far as I was told,” Mr. Brown explained, “this is the first time a school from Portage County has ever qualified for the State Tournament.” Mr. Brown later noted that due to a schedule conflict, alternate Frank Fugman would replace Austin Shaffer at the State Tournament.
Crestwood will also receive the traveling county-level Envirothon trophy from Kent Roosevelt, the highest-ranking Portage team from the 2016 competition. The trophy, which is sponsored by the PSWCD, has been following the winning Portage team for over a decade. Each year the winning team has an engraved plate added to the traveling trophy, which they keep until a new winner is awarded during the next competition.
Congratulations and good luck next month at the State Competition to the top four teams: Chardon Red from Geauga County, Crestwood Monkey Wrench Gang from Portage County, Perry High School Red Team from Lake County, and LaBrae Team A from Trumbull County.
The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) sponsor the Envirothon in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Natural resource and environmental specialists from many agencies, organizations, colleges, universities, park districts and businesses create the Envirothon questions and staff the various test stations during competitions.
Five Area Envirothons are conducted around Ohio each spring. The top four teams from each of these competitions progress to the Ohio Envirothon in June. This state-level contest is held in a different part of Ohio each year. The top-scoring team in the Ohio Envirothon will be eligible to compete in the National Envirothon, which is hosted by a different state each year. Next year’s Area 2 Envirothon will be sponsored by Cuyahoga SWCD and Portage SWCD. More information on this annual competition will be available in January 2018.