Boardman High School sent two teams to the Area II Envirothon last week at the Mill Creek MetroParks farm in Canfield. The Boardman Envirothon A Team placed fifth and the B Team placed 23rd out of 53 teams competing this year.
The Envirothon is designed to stimulate, reinforce and enhance interest in the environment and natural resources for high school students. Among the subjects tested are knowledge of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology and current environmental issues. The environmental issue has a specific theme, which changes annually. This year's theme was "Sustainable Rangeland Management: Achieving a balance between Traditional Agricultural Uses with Non-Agricultural uses."
Schools qualify teams for the area events and must have five students from the same school and one adult advisor or coach. In cases like Boardman, there are 10 students that form two teams. Serving as advisor is BHS science teacher Heather Moran.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
The Boardman High School Envirothon A Team finished this year’s Area II Envirothon in fifth place. Pictured are team members, standing, Muhammad Akbar, and seated, Kaye Moyer, Luke Carabbia, Kylie Lancashire, and Frederic Ouimet. The team was finishing up a work station on wildlife that including questions on wildlife habitat and tracks.
The Boardman A Team is made up of Muhammad Akbar, Kaye Moyer, Luke Carabbia, Kylie Lancashire, and Frederic Ouimet. Except for Ouimet, this year's A team has experience in Envirothons. Last year, the A Team went to the state Envirothon and placed sixth.
"This year, Ouimet replaced our only graduated senior (from last year's team)," Moran said.
To get to state, the top four teams from each of Ohio's five areas qualify. Last year, Boardman A finished third in Area II (northeast Ohio). This year, the team ended up fifth, almost making a repeat trip. Finishing one and two this year was Chardon Red and Chardon Black, followed by third place Perry Red and fourth place United FFA1. The state event will be held in June with only the top-scoring team moving on to a national competition.
Moran said to prepare for the event, she holds eight practices at which time students can get familiar with the science and math they will have to use when they begin the competition. At the competition each team member plays an important role in answering questions, but it is the team effort that makes for a top performance.
In Ohio, the Envirothon is sponsored by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Natural resource and environmental specialists from many agencies, organizations, colleges, universities, park districts and businesses devise the Envirothon questions and staff the various test stations. The staff from Mahoning County Soil and Water were on hand for the event and felt right at home as students progressed through five environmental work stations at the farm.
"Mahoning SWCD is excited to finally have the Area II competition hosted in Mahoning County," said MCSWCD district administrator Kathleen Vrable-Bryan. "Our schools have a strong presence of excellence at the Envirothon events."
While the Boardman A team was just one place away from state and the B Team had finished in the upper half of the schools present, several members aren't quite finished competing in envirothons. Moran said between the two teams, only two members are seniors, leaving two empty spots to fill next year.
"We have two seniors on the A team," Moran said. "The rest are freshmen through juniors and are eligible for next year."
The B Team is comprised of Brooke Harsh, Nick Long, Zach Fryda, Mackenzie Allen, and Andrew Gable. They are all ninth- and 10th-graders who now have experience under their belt.
At the Envirothon, the coach-advisors of the teams are not allowed to be with their team. In fact, no adults are permitted to converse with the teams during the actual competition. The answers to the questions have to be from the students only. The teachers can choose to take part in the event. They can take the same test as the students, which Moran said she likes doing.
"I took the test with other teachers," she said. "It helps me to know what the students are up against and helps me to better prepare them for next year."