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SC Envirothon Coaches’ Training Held Saturday February 9th

David Ruff presents on Aquatics
David Ruff presents on Aquatics

Fourteen coaches representing nine counties of the state attended the 2008 coaches’ training at the Sandhill Center for Economic and Community Development in Pontiac.

The day began with David Ruff of DNR teaching aquatics, covering not only water quality, but water quantity, and issues related to drought and water availability.

David was followed by James “Trip” Miller of the SC Forestry Commission who reviewed dichotomous keys and the use of Biltmore sticks. Tammy Wactor with DNR presented materials on wildlife, touching on carrying capacities, non-native species, and our favorite….scat!

Trip Miller revisiting the measurement of DBH (Diameter at Breast Height)
Trip Miller revisiting the measurement
of DBH (Diameter at Breast Height)

Moving right along through the Envirothon topics, we heard from Jackie Reed and Caleb Gulley, both Soil Scientists with the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Arguably one of the most challenging of the topics, coaches learned about soil compositions, colors, textures and parent materials. Kellee Melton, also with NRCS, and the Envirothon Vice-Chair, illustrated the use of Web Soil Survey which allows the coaches to access soils information for anywhere in the US via the internet.

Coaches using Biltmore Sticks
Coaches using Biltmore Sticks

Lastly, Bryn Harmer with the state department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism dove into the current topic: Recreational Impacts on Natural Resources. The oral presentation scenario that Bryn developed concerns the very popular pastime of geocaching and the potential environmental impacts that activity has on our natural resources. The Envirothon is all about experiential knowledge, and Bryn provided GPS units to groups of coaches and placed two geocaches on the grounds at the lake house. Some coaches navigated their way to the lake, and some to the geocaches, but everyone had a new appreciation for the activity and how such a recreational activity could impact natural areas.

There’s still time to register to participate in the Envirothon this year – the deadline for registering a team is March 31st. Materials from the training can be sent to you if you are interested in pursuing this. If you have any questions, or you’d like additional information, please contact Joy Sullivan, Envirothon Coordinator at 803-359-3165 ext. 3.

2008 S.C. Envirothon Water Pledge

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