The unofficial theme for this year’s Envirothon, an environmental competition for high school students, was “adapting to a novel environment.” Typically, the Envirothon is a competition where teams meet and compete in person at an area level, and then again at a state level if they place high enough in the first competition. The test categories include aquatics, soils, forestry, wildlife, and a current environmental issue. It helps prepare students for higher education and career paths in natural resources and conservation.
Located outdoors, testing of the teams occurs at a series of stations that highlight a specific natural resource topic. This year, of course, looked drastically different. Teams had to adapt to the novel coronavirus, just like the plants and animals they were being tested on have to adapt to their environment in the natural world if they want to survive.
The Delaware Area Career Center (DACC) Blue Team placed second out of twenty-eight teams, surviving the first round of the first-ever virtual Envirothon competition. Ethan Yorke, Griffin Bailey, Danny Carman, Amanda Sugerik, and Alex Bell made up this team of seniors. Dona Rhea, Wildlife and Resource Management Instructor at DACC, advises the team. Normally this first-round competition would take place at the regional level, which for Delaware County is in Area 5 of Ohio’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).
Instead of meeting in person, teams met through Zoom video conferencing to confer with each other for five separate timed tests on the above categories. Placing as high as the DACC team did was no easy feat, considering the unexpected turn of events in their school year. They weren’t provided with the usual learning opportunities and collaboration that they normally would have had in preparation for the Envirothon.
For this year’s state-level competition, the top six placing teams had to create a five-minute video presentation by again working together through Zoom. The DACC team placed fifth out of six teams in this second level state round. We are proud to have the DACC team represent our county with this achievement.
The National Envirothon, along with many state Envirothons across the country understandably decided to cancel this year. The Ohio Envirothon Committee was committed to keeping Ohio students engaged in 2020. Even with a virtual contest, seniors had a chance to build upon the knowledge they learned last year, and juniors got to practice for next year. In a time when most events were being canceled, we know that the teams appreciated the opportunity to compete. We hope that the Envirothon is able to fully return to the field in 2021.
If you know a high school student who is interested in natural resources or conservation, visit our website at soilandwater.co.delaware.oh.us for information concerning the 2021 Envirothon. We congratulate the DACC team and wish them luck in their future college and career endeavors!