HAMILTON COUNTY — On April 25, over 450 students and teachers from 18 southwest Ohio counties descended on Fernald Nature Preserve in northwest Hamilton County to compete in the Area IV Envirothon. Students from Preble Shawnee and Twin Valley South participated this year.
Students competed in the areas of aquatics, wildlife, forestry, soils, and current environmental issues, and were required to complete challenging tasks ranging from evaluating soil to identifying wildlife and plant species. Written tests were designed by experts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Winners from this local competition advance to the state contest, which is followed by the North American Envirothon.
The Twin Valley South team of Haley Back, Tommy Schleiger, Audrey Chesney, Chyann Kendel, and Chris French placed 13th out of 84 teams. Other TVS participants included Jesse Woods, Josh Chapman, Tanner Upchurch, Jarod Goad, Mylan Crews, Tarren Back, Kelsie Shafer, and Jacob Jackson. Preble Shawnee’s team included Jessica Chappell, Logan Sapp, Natalie Cox, Justin Gudorf, Luke Woodard, Carley Asher, Audra Burger, Jasmine Mabry, Riley Bone, Tyler Stevenson, Bobby Burns, Carter Roell, Leslie Burger, Jacob Doty and Kalena Hager.
“The Envirothon gives students a chance to learn outside the walls of a classroom,” said BJ Price, Administrator and Technician at Preble SWCD. “This contest introduces students to real-world concepts that will help them relate to the natural world around them.”
The location of the contest, Fernald Preserve, is a Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management site at the former cold-war era Fernald Feed Materials Production Center. The preserve features 140 acres of wetland habitat including three lakes, 400 acres of forests and 360 acres of grasslands including tall grass prairies. To learn more about the Envirothon or to view photos from this year’s event, visit www.areaivenvirothon.org.
The Envirothon is an environmental high school competition designed to stimulate, reinforce and enhance interest in the environment and natural resources among high school students. Students are tested in their knowledge of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology, and current environmental issues. In addition, the Envirothon encourages cooperative decision-making and team building. While each student on a team is challenged to contribute his or her personal best, the score that counts at the end of the competition is the team score. A team consists of five students, all from the same high school. An adult advisor (or advisors) must accompany the team, but is not permitted to assist the team during the competition.
High school students across the state compete on the local level at one of the five Area Envirothons. The top four teams from each Area Envirothon go on to compete at the state competition held each year in June for the title of State Champion. The State Champion from Ohio will compete at the NCF Envirothon held annually in North America.