Friday, April 5, 2019

PA Envirothon Statewide Competition Set For May 21-22 At University Of Pittsburgh In Johnstown; Volunteers Needed

The 36th Annual Pennsylvania Envirothon statewide competition will be taking place May 21-22 on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown.
High school teams from 67 counties are expected to compete for top honors and the chance to represent Pennsylvania at the NCF-Envirothon international competition being held in July at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
The first place winners of last year’s PA Envirothon was the team from Carmichaels Area High School in Greene County with a score of 546 points out of a possible 600.
Pennsylvania teams have won the now international Envirothon competition in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2017.  (No pressure here.)
And, actually, they should because conservation districts in Pennsylvania were the first to develop the Envirothon environmental knowledge competition program for high school students.
Volunteers Needed
The Envirothon Board of Directors invites all conservation districts, partners, sponsors, agencies, financial contributors, organizations, and friends to volunteer to help with the statewide competition.
More than 100 volunteers are needed to assist with the oral presentation component and the station testing competition. Volunteers serve as oral component presentation judges, team buddies, timers, station judges, lunch deliverers, along with other tasks.
To receive information on how you can volunteer, visit the PA Envirothon Registration webpage or contact your county conservation district or PA Envirothon Executive Director, Lorelle Steach by calling 814-310-3271.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Envirothon website, call 814-310-3271 or contact Lorelle Steach by sending email to:   You can also contact your county conservation district.
Where Are They Now? Eric Zavinski
Former PA Envirothon competitor Eric Zavinski related how his experience has benefited him as a journalist with the Jamestown Post-Journal--
My Envirothon experience growing up in Warren County has proven a valuable skill to me in my adult life — and I'm about as far away as you get in terms of profession from a science-related field!
My craft is words, language and storytelling. Specifically as of now, my full-time job is as a reporter at The Post-Journal newspaper in the city of Jamestown, NY. During my work here, I've thoroughly covered an environmental beat, specifically the health and welfare of Chautauqua Lake in Chautauqua County.
It is a very politicized issue; various lake stakeholders have different opinions regarding the usage of herbicides, weed harvesting, stormwater management, watershed health and so much more. If I was lost on these areas of environmental science, my coverage would be a lot rockier to say the least.
First being introduced to everything from river classification, watersheds, sedimentation and nutrient loads to pollution, herbicides and a whole lot more in high school earth science and then Envirothon itself, I'm now using my background knowledge to better the local community and educate readers on the polarizing issues of how to treat the lake for harmful algal blooms and invasive weeds.
These macrophytes have plagued the shorelines of thousands of residents and have contributed to fish kills, pollution and a shaky yet budding tourism-centric economy.
There is so much that goes into a developing story like this one, and I can attribute some of my inquisitive environmental nature to the tools that I worked on during the Envirothon competitions.
Without my Envirothon background, it would have taken me a lot longer to learn the ins and outs of this complicated subject matter. I want to thank everyone involved with Envirothon for making a lasting difference, even if it was not at first that obvious for me what that difference would end up being when I was a high school student a few years ago.
I always intended on being a writer, but still wanted to be a lifelong learner and commit to the study of subjects, like environmental science, that could enlighten me further. I hope that many more youth continue to think that way!
(Photo: 2018 winners from Carmichaels Area High School in Greene County.)
(Reprinted from the Spring 2019 PA Envirothon newsletter.)

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