The 2019 Washington State Envirothon Competition took place at Camp Don Bosco in Carnation, WA from May 22nd – 23rd. Teams from 8 high schools across Washington gathered together for competition. The first day was spent travelling to Carnation and meeting other schools and students. After all the teams arrived, the students played an ice-breaker game in which they each placed a note card with an Envirothon-related word to their back. Through asking yes / no questions of the people around them, they had to guess what their word might be. This was a fun and effective way to encourage students to get to know their fellow competitors.
Students then traveled to meet Rosy Smit from Carnation Farms for an informational and exciting farm tour related to the topics students had been studying all year. Rosy explained and showcased different parts of this historic farm, how they manage it, and how they engage youth and new farmers in sustainable agriculture and food production. The tour related directly to this year’s current issue topic of Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and Technology to feed the World. After returning from the farm tour and dinner, Courtney Naumann, a former King CD Farm Planner, and a current Agriculture Stewardship Program Manager at American Farmland Trust, presented on the importance of farmlands and why they should be protected. The night ended with additional oral presentation practice time and a tasty treat of s’mores by the campfire.
On the day of the competition, students rotated through six natural resource stations: Forestry, Aquatic Ecology, Wildlife, Soils, Current Issue, and Oral Presentation. Organizations writing the tests and running the testing stations included: WSU Extension, WACD, NRCS, as well as conservation district staff from across the state. During the event, these station experts introduced their careers and students were able to get a glimpse of how the topics that they spent time preparing for and studying would apply in the real world.
In total, 8 WA state high schools composed of 49 students and advisors participated in the competition. There were 29 volunteers from King, Snohomish, Pierce, Mason, and Palouse Conservation Districts, Washington Association of Conservation Districts, WSU Extension, King County Water & Land Resources Division, Washington Conservation Corps, Washington Service Corps, and Bellevue College who took on the tasks from running and grading the tests to judging the oral presentations. We couldn’t have put this event together without the help from all these people and organizations.
The event was sponsored through funding by Washington State Conservation Commission, Washington Conservation Society, Washington Association of Conservation Districts and Washington State Envirothon.