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Conservation at the Core: 2017 SC Envirothon June 5, 2017

Following a round of heavy showers in the early hours of May 5, staff and partners of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) began setting up for the 21st Annual SC Envirothon competition at the Sandhill Research and Education Center in Columbia. It was a soggy and cool start, but the competition was soon heated with 16 teams vying for the coveted top three placings, the scholarship awards that accompanied them, and the opportunity to move on to the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Competition.

Spartanburg High School Team - L to R: Louise Franke, Nan Miles, Luke Martin, Hannah Jordan and Soline McGee

Spartanburg High School Team - L to R: Louise Franke, Nan Miles, Luke Martin, Hannah Jordan and Soline McGee

After completing college-level exams in aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and agricultural soil, and water conservation, and presenting an argument based upon a given scenario for the oral presentation station, teams of five ate lunch and awaited their fate while exam graders and orals judges calculated final scores. When it was all said and done, Spartanburg High School's Team B was announced as the third place finisher, Spartanburg Day School's SDS Griffins followed with second place, and Spartanburg High School's Team A took top honors finishing in first place. Each student on a winning team received a scholarship award valid for five years.

In July, the members of Spartanburg High School's Team A will travel to the NCF Envirothon hosted at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Winning teams from across 50 states and nine Canadian provinces will compete for the NCF scholarship awards.

Having provided more than $90,000 in college scholarships to Envirothon students over 21 years, the SC Envirothon is proud of all of the students that participated in this year's event. With a mission to advance environmental awareness through an outdoor venue for high school students, to assess their knowledge of natural resource management issues, and to promote a life-long commitment to environmental stewardship, the SC Envirothon is nothing without the coaches who participate and motivate their students to attend, and the students themselves who go beyond the given materials to research topics, study the materials, and work together to achieve those top scores. All of the participants in the 2017 SC Envirothon are commended for their efforts, including the staff and volunteers and their supporting agencies.

The SC Envirothon is coordinated by SCDNR in cooperation with the SC Forestry Commission, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Central Carolina Technical College, Francis Marion University, Florence County Environmental Discovery Center, SC Soil and Water Society and Clemson University Sandhill Center. Major financial sponsors are the SC Conservation Districts Foundation, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, SC Association of Conservation Districts, and SC Forestry Foundation.

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, contact SC Envirothon Coordinator Marc Cribb at 803-734-6367, or like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/SCEnvirothon.

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