County students reign in 4H Envirothon
In very competitive scoring, the Northern Neck 4-H Envirothon team took an impressive third place overall among the top 15 teams across the state in the Dominion Resources supported Virginia State Envirothon competition held May 19-20 at Virginia State University in Petersburg. The team is coached by Wendy Herdman, Richmond-Westmoreland County 4-H Extension Agent, and Northern Neck Master Naturalist Martha Berger.
Northern Neck Soil & Water Conservation District is the local sponsoring District for the team in this internationally recognized environmental competition open to students in grades 9-12. NNSWCD’s Amanda Strong and Faye Andrashko assisted at the State event.
The Envirothon competition consists of five field test stations – soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue – where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. Teams prepare for the competition by researching specific learning objectives and receiving field training from agency resource experts who give of their time. The local and regional resource professionals write and present the tests at the stations.
During an oral presentation, each team provides its solution to a current environmental issue, while industry and natural resource professionals serve as judges. The 2013 issue was “Sustainable Grass and Pastureland Management: Achieving a balance between Traditional Agricultural Uses with Non-Agricultural Uses.”
Each team within the state is sponsored by a Soil & Water Conservation District. first and second place winners were, respectively, Hidden Pond Nature Center, sponsored by Northern VA Soil & Water Conservation District, and Albemarle High School, sponsored by Thomas Jefferson SWCD. The winning team will represent Virginia at the 2013 North American Envirothon, this year scheduled from August 4-9 at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. This national competition, sponsored by Canon, awards over $125,000 in scholarships and Canon products to the winning teams and schools.
Envirothon began in 1979 and is the largest nonathletic high school competition in North America. It challenges students to put information that they have learned to solving real-life environmental problems. Students who participate learn stewardship and management concepts and work to solve real and hypothetical environmental problems. The program is field oriented, community based, and gives students an opportunity to work with natural resource professionals.