Weekly Feature

2018-03-08 / Editorial

Envirothon is opportunity to emphasize science

The Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District will host the 17th annual Erie County Envirothon this spring. Coordinated by the district, the Envirothon is an outdoor-oriented, hands-on, natural science competition for high school students.

Students will use teamwork to complete a series of challenges in the subjects of wildlife, forestry, aquatics, soils and a current issue topic. The 2018 Envirothon topic is “Western Rangeland Management.”

Western rangelands include prairies, grasslands and woodland areas. Rangeland resources are a critically important ecosystem component of the western U.S. landscape and are a vital economic factor for many agricultural producers.

Western rangeland management objectives include grazing, timber harvest, recreational uses and mining. They are diverse and rich in natural resources and provide an essential fresh water source for all of the western U.S. Not only is the Envirothon a chance for students to spend a day enjoying the outdoors, it is an excellent opportunity to learn from and connect with local field specialists. To prepare for the Envirothon challenge, students attend a workshop where local natural resource professionals give presentations on the various Envirothon topics. Last year’s workshop presenters included local soil scientists, fishery biologists, field technicians, foresters, conservationists and naturalists.

The 2018 Erie County Envirothon will be held Thursday, March 29, and Thursday, April 26, at Village Green Park in Elma. The winning team of students at the Erie County Envirothon earns the privilege of advancing to the New York State Envirothon to be held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva on May 23 and 24, where they will compete against local Envirothon winners from counties throughout the state.

At the local and state levels, scholarships are awarded to top-scoring teams. The winning team at the New York State Envirothon qualifies for the North American Envirothon, where high-scoring teams receive college scholarships and other prizes.

The Erie County Envirothon is open to all students in grade levels nine through 12. Student teams may be formed from a high school, BOCES, 4-H club, FFA club, members of sovereign Native American Nations schools, home schools or any other sanctioned local, regional, state, or nationally recognized club that sponsors youth in grades nine through 12.

For information or to register for the Envirothon, call Melanie Saunders at 652-8480.

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