Boardman Glenwood's Junior Envirothon Team 1 took second place out of 11 teams at the 2014 Junior Envirothon held at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm on April 10. The event was hosted by Mahoning Soil and Water Conservation District and was made possible through sponsorship and a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
MSWCD Director Kathi Vrable-Bryan said, ''The last time we held a middle school envirothon was in 2001. We wrote a grant to hold one this year and was awarded $5,000 from the Ohio EPA's Ohio Environmental Education Fund.''
Vrable-Bryan said the high school envirothon that is held at various locations around Northeast Ohio, is a totally different program. The lessons are shorter and the teams have a tougher set of questions than the junior version for middle schools. The high school event is being hosted in Huron County this year. The junior envirothon is a way middle school students can prepare to compete when they reach the high school level.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman Glenwood Team 1 took part in the 2014 Junior Envirothon on April 10 and came away in second place out of 11 teams. Pictured are team members Kaylin Burkey, Ava Colaluca, Hannah Nawrocki, Jacob Mahood, and Justin Olsen as they answer questions on composting inside the large barn at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.
When Vrable-Bryan found out about the OEPA grant money, the application was sent in with the intent of bringing back the middle school event this year. Dennis Clement, environmental public information officer with the OEPA explained where the funding comes from.
''We have an environmental education fund that comes from half of the fines we collect [in the state],'' he said.
With the grant in place and support from local entities, the 2014 Junior Envirothon was set and brought out teams from Austintown, Boardman, Lowellville, South Range and West Branch. Each team was made up of five students and one alternate. Austintown fielded a third team of alternates and Boardman teamed up with West Branch with their respective alternates to make a total of 11 teams.
The teams spent the morning on Thursday rotating between five different stations, staffed by experts who gave a 20 minute talk, then gave the teams time to answer questions. Stations and those staffing them included Aquatics with environmental program director Stephanie Dyer from Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, composting with rural recycling educator Kim Lewis from Mahoning County, soils with soil scientist Steve Perbonick from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, forestry with forestry supervisor James Brammer from Mill Creek MetroParks, and wildlife with forestry specialist Jason Reynolds from Columbiana SWCD and district technician Todd Miller from MSWCD.
Boardman Glenwood Team 1 member, seventh grader Hannah Nawrocki, said ''I enjoyed the wildlife the best. It was fun learning to identify animals and find fish.''
She said the team found it challenging, but for the most part it was fun. Nawrocki said she felt her team did pretty good. At the indoor segment of the event, Boardman Glenwood Team 1 was honored as the second place team for the event. South Range had placed first and Lowellville was third.
Glenwood Team 2 didn't place in the top three, but they did gain a lot. Team captain and eighth grader Cody Geary explained.
''We came out here and looked at everything and learned a lot about things we couldn't experience in the classroom,'' he said.
Vrable-Bryan said the Junior Envirothon will help prepare Mahoning County students to take part in the high school envirothon. It also gives students a feel for environmental issues and for a few, maybe a career path in that field, which was part of the talk Clement gave the students after lunch.
''I talked about career opportunities in hopes of inspiring some of the young people,'' he said. ''Not a lot of people are entering the science field and we have a need in that area.''