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Students Compete in the 16th Annual SC Envirothon

Coaches at the February Training.
Spartanburg Envirothon Team members left to right: Coach Vaughn Vick, Shannon Chambers, Hannah Brown, Jake Henderson, Kelly Atherton, Mary Eaton, Coach Rob Wilder.

Since the beginning of 2012, students from across the state have been preparing for the Envirothon competition that was held on Friday May 4. This dynamic environmental competition for high school students cultivates a passion for environmental science and conservation policy by testing in the areas of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a topic that varies from year to year. The 2012 concentration was Non-Point Source Pollution and Low Impact Development. The learning objectives for each individual station then become woven together in a team-based oral presentation developed from a fictitious scenario provided.

Spartanburg High's Team A almost had a clean sweep through the top score awards, and also took home those honors for Aquatics, Forestry, Soils and Low Impact Development. Spartanburg Team B won the highest score certificate for the Wildlife Station. These two teams also placed 1st and 2nd overall, with each student winning a $500 and $250 scholarship respectively, available for the next five years. Third place honors were captured by Spartanburg Day School's team, with each member receiving a $125 scholarship. Following in with Honorable Mention was Lexington County's White Knoll High School, nipping at the heels of the long-time Spartanburg champs (who also happened to win 3rd place overall out of 56 teams from the US and Canada in the 2011 North American competition).

This year, students presented to a panel of experts on their plans to build a new high school at the same time their community begins implementing Phase II of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The debate was whether or not to use traditional building methods, or to adopt Low Impact Development best management practices which are more environmentally responsible, but also more costly initially, to meet MS4 regulations and their needs. Oral Presentation judges, hailing from such agencies as S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, S.C. Emergency Management Division and county officials working in stormwater management and low impact development, were thoroughly impressed with the maturity and depth of knowledge the students exhibited through these presentations. Some of these presentations stood out from among the rest, and Spartanburg High School's Team A was one of these, taking home the certificate for highest score in Oral Presentation.

The Envirothon has been in South Carolina since 1997, providing over $70,000 is scholarship funds to local high school students. The Envirothon is sponsored by the SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Forestry Commission, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Central Carolina Technical College, Francis Marion University, Florence County Environmental Discovery Center, USC Upstate, Canon Envirothon, the Clemson Institute, the Conservation Districts Foundation, the SC Association of Conservation Districts, individual Conservation Districts and private donors.


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