Precision Agriculture, Population and Grant Proposals Kicked Off Spring Break for Some High Schoolers
While some students were planning Spring Break events, on April 12th, the high school teams attending the 23rd Annual SC Envirothon Competition were delving into issues of Sustainable Agriculture. Twenty-three teams converged on the Sandhill REC site in Pontiac early Friday morning for a day of testing in the areas of Agriculture and the Environment (2019 Current Topic), Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, and Wildlife. Still practicing their oral presentations on Sustainable Agriculture as they arrived, these are not your average teenagers!
Since 1997 the SC Envirothon has asked 9-12th graders across the state to Accept the Natural Challenge of the Envirothon, and those that do, are richly rewarded with a day away from their structured school day, away from the four walls of a classroom and into the great outdoors. The top three placing teams and their coaches are also rewarded with cash and scholarship prizes amounting to $10,500. Now that’s a great way to kick off a Spring Break! Students experienced the full outdoor adventure with rain, mud, bugs and bites, yet left the event with smiles on their faces, recharged to do more for our natural resources, and ready for anything those four classroom walls could throw at them.
When the competition ended, and lunch had been consumed whilst graders were finalizing scores, teams waited nervously for the awards ceremony. Taking 1st place was Spartanburg High School’s Team A, each student winning a $1,000 scholarship; 2nd place went to Spartanburg High School’s Team B, each student winning a $500 scholarship; and 3rd place went to Pendleton High School’s FFA team with each student receiving a $250 scholarship. Also recognized were the top three scores from each station including teams from Spartanburg High School, Pendleton High School, Spartanburg Day School, Wando High School, Chapin High School, Irmo High School, Orangeburg Preparatory School, and an Alternate Team of 3 students who had never met.
Spartanburg’s 1st place team has now qualified to represent South Carolina at the North American Envirothon hosted by North Carolina this year. Teams from all over the US and Canada will converge in Raleigh in July for a much larger version of the state program, with much larger scholarship stakes! Wish them well and track their progress online and on Facebook!
The S.C. Envirothon is coordinated by the SCDNR in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Central Carolina Technical College, S.C. Forestry Commission, Francis Marion University, Florence County Environmental Discovery Center, S.C. Soil and Water Conservation Society, and Clemson University Sandhill Research and Education Center. Major financial sponsors are the S.C. Conservation Districts Foundation, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District, SC Forestry Foundation, and the S.C. Association of Conservation Districts. A very special thank you is extended to Jonathan Williams of Orangeburg County for preparing lunch. If you would like to become a sponsor, or if you wish to follow the successes of the SC Envirothon, visit the website at www.dnr.sc.gov/education/Envirothon or like us on Facebook at www.facebook/SCEnvirothon.