Palouse Conservation District Hosts 2016 WA State Envirothon

The 2016 Washington State Envirothon Competition was held at Fields Spring State Park in Anatone, WA on Thursday, May 19th from 8:00 AM-2:30 PM.  Teams from all over Washington arrived Wednesday afternoon for registration followed by an informative guided hike throughout the park.  During their hike, students were encouraged to partake in a native plant identification BINGO game.  Participating competitors and volunteers were provided meals and lodging on-site, with teams graciously sponsored by Conservation Districts (CDs) from corresponding regions.  Many WA State CDs and natural resource organizations worked with the host CD, Palouse Conservation District, in order to create a successful and enjoyable event.  This remarkable competition provides high school students with an opportunity to challenge their understanding of critical Natural Resource topics including: Aquatic Ecology, Current Issues (updated annually), Forestry, Soils/Land Use, and Wildlife.  In addition to testing in each of the aforementioned categories, students were also asked to complete presentations based on a provided scenario focused upon the Current Issue (Invasive Species).  This scenario allows students to shine as they practice critical thinking, teamwork, and public speaking.  The students that compete in this event are incredibly inspiring- they work VERY hard to prepare, are impressively intelligent, and are often extremely respectful during the event.   Many Natural Resource professionals contributed their time to help make this event possible, including professionals from various Conservation Districts, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (state and federal).  Students are offered a chance to network with these respected professionals and learn more about potential career fields for the future.  In total, 9 WA State high schools participated in the competition- including 60 students and team advisors.  Tekoa H.S. won first place in the competition with additional “best test” awards in the Aquatic Ecology and Wildlife categories.  This event was made possible by 31 volunteers, who worked as presentation judges, test writers/proctors, cooks, scorekeepers, etc. and donor organizations including: The Washington State Conservation Commission and The Washington Conservation Society.  As event coordinator, it was an absolute pleasure to witness so many individuals and organizations work together to contribute to such a crucial component of natural resource integration within secondary education- Thank you very much!

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