SC Envirothon: Biodiversity Becomes You
From left to right: Vaughn Vick (coach), Hazel Lever, Marquan Jones, William Weir, David Stevens, Rob Wilder (coach). Not pictured Philip Chambers.
The 2009 SC Envirothon competition was held on May 1st at the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development. Biodiversity was the alternate topic for the year, in addition to the regulars of Aquatics (managed by David Ruff, DNR), Forestry (managed by James Miller, SC Forestry Commission), Oral Presentation (managed by Lindsay Fairchilds, DNR) and Wildlife (managed by Jennifer Majors, DNR). A professor from Central Carolina Technical College, and a colleague of his from USC Sumter managed the current topic of Biodiversity in a Changing World. Special thanks to Joshua Castleberry, CCT, and Dr. Jeff Steinmetz, USC Sumter for their time, attention to detail, and creativity in developing the oral presentation topic that was so passionately debated.
From left to right: Vaughn Vick (coach), Mary-Frances Babrowicz, Grace Anne Martin, Melissa Ross, Vincent Wideman, Aristotelis Nayfa, Rob Wilder (coach)
Twenty-three teams attended the competition, hailing from one area of the state to the other; Charleston to Spartanburg, Horry to Abbeville. Although students were prepared for the rigorous testing that each station had in store for them, they weren't so prepared for the downpour that was the first ever in thirteen years of the event. We might have left a little soggy in the shoes, but with our tools a lot sharper in the shed! The rain brought literal meaning to 'accepting the natural challenge' of the Envirothon, and the students and volunteers were real troopers to keep the competition on schedule.
After slogging through puddles and fire ant piles, the students waited patiently for the results: Chapin High School's Eagle Two team stole Honorable Mention (Lexington County), Pinewood Preparatory School (Dorchester County) earned Third Place, and the two Spartanburg High teams rolled in as First (Team A) and Second (Team B). Station Awards were also given for the top scores in each area and Spartanburg Team A walked away with four station awards; Aquatics, Biodiversity, Forestry and Oral Presentation, while Pinewood Preparatory scored the highest in Soils, and Spartanburg Team B took top honors at the Wildlife Station. In addition to the these awards, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) present top three awards to the highest scorers out of all the FFA teams participating. The Envirothon functions as the state FFA Career Development Event and Mr. Billy Keels, State Director of Agricultural Education with Clemson University, and Adam Gore, State FFA Secretary, presented those awards: Loris High's FFA took top honors, Indian Land High FFA came in Second, and Calhoun Falls Charter FFA placed Third.
From left to right: Dustin Pfaehler, Tyler Fridh, Hunter Baughman, Michael Newman (coach), Danny Zuvia. Not pictured is Katherine Gore.
Scholarships and cash prizes totaling more than $6,000 were presented to the winning teams, and the members of Spartanburg Team A will go on to compete at the Canon Envirothon to be held at the University of North Carolina in Asheville from August 2nd through the 8th. There the team will qualify for additional scholarships and prizes valued at over $100,000. The scholarships and prizes at the state level were provided by the generous donations of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the state, their State Association, the SC District Employees Association, the Environmental Education Association of SC, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Low Country RC&D Council, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, the Canon Envirothon Committee, and various personal donations made by the 'Friends of Envirothon'.
From left to right: Lisa Ruth (coach), Olivia Bueno, Jordan Broadway, Amber Engel, Noelle Chasmar, Kathleen Barrett.
The Envirothon receives thousands of hours of in-kind services from its committee members, volunteers, station managers, graders, on-call EMT staff, photographers... and so on. The event is a true model of partnership for a common cause - providing a challenging, but fun outdoor experience for high school students that will encourage them to be stewards of the land, not just with their hearts, but with their heads and with their hands. Invest in your future and become a sponsor of the SC Envirothon Program.
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