Students compete in Envirothon, gain knowledge on environment

Chloe Green, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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On May 16, a select group of students and Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science teacher Laura Butterfield attended the 2019 Envirothon Competition at the Tolland County Agricultural Center in Vernon. Envirothon is a hands-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school students.

According to Envirothon, their mission is to develop knowledgeable skilled and dedicated citizens who have an understanding of natural resources and are willing and prepared to work towards achieving and maintaining a balance between the quality of life and quality of the environment.

While anyone is allowed to join the Envirothon team, this year the team consisted of seniors Clark Strauss and Vishanth Palanivel and juniors Sophie Shack, and Aleesha Siddiqui. In order to prepare for this competition, the group of students created a poster for the event and reviewed and studied various environmental topics that would be asked.

“What is neat about Envirothon is that parts of the test require you to be hands-on. For example, in forestry, you are examining real trees and fungi, while in aquatics there are tanks of live animals such as salamanders and fish that you are tasked with identifying,” Shack said.

On the day of the event, they competed in several competitions with four different topics; Soils, Aquatics, Forestry, and Wildlife. They answered a variety of questions related to each topic during the competitions.

“While most of Envirothon was competing, we were very surprised about the number of people there. There were almost 30 teams from schools all around the state,” Strauss said.

After competing, they placed fifth overall and first in the Aquatics Division. They also did a presentation on a current event along with competing.

“The students did amazingly well given that the competition was held during AP week, and Vish and Clark had to leave early to make it to AP [Statistics]. They had only about a week to prepare the oral presentation, and Sophie went the extra mile to create a beautiful and informative poster. The fact that we won the Aquatics Division was a major surprise, as that has been typically our lowest-scoring event. Aleesha and Sophie are excited to lead the team next year and are going to go for the win. For the past two years, we were high score in Soils, so winning is a real possibility,” Butterfield said.