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Dover Post
  • Local students to compete in environmental competition

  • A group of roughly 85 students from high schools across the state are set to put their problem solving skills and environmental knowledge to the test on Thursday when the 19th annual state Envirothon is held in Greenville.
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  • A group of roughly 85 students from high schools across the state are set to put their problem solving skills and environmental knowledge to the test on Thursday when the 19th annual state Envirothon is held in Greenville.
    Envirothon is a statewide outdoor problem solving competition that quizzes students and tasks them with addressing a specific environmental topic.
    Students on Polytech’s team, along with teens from eight other high schools in the state, will be set loose at Coverdale Farm Preserve in Greenville. The participants will conduct hands-on activities and complete written exams in six categories − air quality, forestry, aquatic ecology, soil and land use/wildlife.
    There are five members on a team and each person specializes in one of the six areas, with one student picking up two areas. Teams use their collective background knowledge and the environment around them to answer the questions on each test. Even though students are essentially taking exams, Envirothon is fun, said Jacob Dickey, a senior on Polytech’s team.
    “It’s not like sitting down in a classroom taking an exam,” he said. “You’re actually out in the environment; you’re in the woods looking at the trees around you. You get to go outside and do it rather than taking a test.”
    Dickey specializes in aquatics, meaning that he may be asked questions about the anatomy of a horseshoe crab or be tasked with identifying a specific type of fish. If a team member is stumped by a question in their specialty area they can turn to their teammates for support.
    After students have answered the written questions the five member teams will be tasked with making a seven- to 10-minute presentation about a specific challenge. In this year’s case, students will figure out how to help a family that wants to start an organic farm, said Dickey.
    “In our presentation we have to come up with ideas of how they can make their farm organic, sustainable and the best farm it can be with the least impact on the environment,” he said.
    Participating in Envirothon has helped to accelerate Dickey’s knowledge in environmental fields, he said, because it offers him the chance to see and touch the world around him, rather than learning about it from a PowerPoint.
    Students will compete for both college scholarships and cash awards. Polytech’s team advisor Susan Wujtewicz has also seen Envirothon launch several of her students into environmental careers.
    “I have a student working with the EPA in Washington in the educational career of environmental protection,” she said. “She was an Envirothon student.
    Page 2 of 2 -  “I have others who have gone on to jobs with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and environmental consulting firms. Others have jobs with DNREC,” she added. “What they learn in Envirothon is good background for them to come away with.”
     

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