Home Info High school students get back to nature at Envirothon | details

High school students get back to nature at Envirothon | details

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High school students get back to nature at Envirothon | details

High school students spent time in the great outdoors April 13 when teams participated in the 2022 Charles County Envirothon held at Gilbert Run Park. Maurice J. McDonough High School’s Team 5 took first place, a team from Henry E. Lackey High School came in second with Team 6 from McDonough placing third.

Students on McDonough’s Team 5 include seniors Evan Whitten and Jason Haley, junior Mitchell Winkler, sophomore Ryon Price and Trevor Bryant, a freshman. The Lackey team is made up of seniors Karl Jason Carlos, Tyne Kidd, Charlie Klinger and Grace Landgraf. Senior Eileen Browning and juniors Mikayla Knodle, Paige Bennett, Hannah Freitag and McKenna Gardiner are members of McDonough’s Team 6.

The Envirothon is a problem-solving academic competition that is the culmination of lessons learned during seasonal trainings at the Charles Soil Conservation District. Students answer questions in five categories — aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current environmental issue. The last topic changes each year. This year the fifth topic was Waste to Resources, which called on teams to learn concepts of different waste streams, such as trash and discarded materials produced by individuals, industries and other sources, and how to better manage them.

The competition, which relies heavily on students canceled hands-on work, was in 2020 and virtually conducted in 2021. “It gives students that connection to the environment and why they should care about it,” Maddalena Nesbit, science teacher at St. Charles High School, said. “It’s hands-on learning.”

“They’re getting away from technology and learning to be without their phones,” Susan Menthe, a St. Charles science teacher, said, adding that the use of phones is prohibited in the competition. “It’s really fun to watch them get comfortable without technology. They might hesitate to touch a fish at first, then they realize it’s how they’ll learn, and they do it.”

While some students might be tentative to engage with nature at first, it doesn’t take long for them to acclimate to their surroundings, Kelly Bryant, Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) teacher at McDonough, said. “Once they get out here and start labeling trees, figuring out what kind of tree it is and the cool tools they get to use — like a Biltmore Stick. How many people get to use a Biltmore Stick? — the students want to learn and do more things to help the environment.” For those outside of the forestry industry, a Biltmore Stick is used to measure a tree’s diameter and height.

McDonough Team 5 will represent Charles County at the Maryland Envirothon on June 22 held at the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Education Center near Ellicott City. If the team advances at the state competition, the members will travel to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, for the national contest June 24 to 30.

About CCPS
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programmes, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, PO Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school in accordance with its Use of Facilities facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).

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