Post contributed by Bill desRosiers – Coordinator, External Affairs
“It is in man’s heart that the life of nature’s spectacle exists; to see it, one must feel it.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Emile, 1762
With video games and social media occupying the minds of teenagers today, it’s refreshing to find a program that brings young adults outside into the real world like the Envirothon. The Envirothon is a competition that test high-school students on five different topics: soil Identification, aquatics, wildlife, forestry and a rotating topic which this year was pasture and grazing. Basically, team members work together to answer questions related to each of these topics to gain points; highest score of the tournament wins. What sets this aside from other scholastic competitions is the interaction with living creatures and trees. Students literally have to identify fish and snakes that were caught earlier in the day for this competition.
This annual competition is hosted by the Conservation District of Susquehanna County in conjunction with representatives from the Fish & Boat Commission, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, and PA Game Commission. Each partnering agency helps administer the competition and each is responsible for grading a particular round of the competition.
The Envirothon has grown in popularity over the last three decades: this year six different school districts sent a total of 30 teams to compete, roughly 150 students – a new record. Normally teams practice environmental education after school as part of a club but some school districts have gone as far as adding classes during the day to satisfy student interest.
Cabot joined in the fun this year by sponsoring this day-long competition. Other sponsors included industry cohorts Chesapeake Energy, Talisman Energy and Carrizo Oil and Gas. Non-industry sponsors included Severcool Logging, Peoples Neighborhood Bank, Bridgewater Twp, Lopke Rock Products among others.
“Our environmental protocols, some of the strongest in the state, are designed to protect the environment so younger generations can enjoy it tomorrow. The Envirothon is a great way to interact with younger generations about those protocols especially since they see every day in the county and have no idea what we are doing.”
Brody Webster along with his counterpart Randi Matthews actually took time during the day to volunteer with the various state conservation agencies to help make sure the competition ran smoothly.
“I participated in a lot of environmental type organization in high school and college but never a competition like this. I’m sure more of my friends and classmate would have joined in had they an opportunity like this,” said Randi.
Congratulations to the Hall Benders of Blue Ridge for winning this year’s competition.