Students from across Washington state gathered last week at Camp Don Bosco in Carnation for the 2019 WA State Envirothon competition. Eight teams of 5 participated in this 2-day event after winning their regional competitions earlier in the year. Hosted through a partnership of King, Snohomish, and Pierce Conservation Districts, this competition is a program that engages high school aged youth in natural resource sciences.
Through hands-on and real-world problem solving, the Envirothon competition challenges students to think critically about four main topic areas: Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatic Ecology and Soils & Land Use. Testing stations may ask students to identify an animal pelt, calculate the board feet available in a stand of trees, discuss the ways in which an invasive weed is impacting stream flow, or measure the texture of a soil sample.
Each year also includes a rotating topic related to a current environmental issue. For 2019, it’s ‘Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge & Technology to Feed the World’. Students were given a natural resource scenario to solve based on the current topic and locally relevant concerns. They developed a 10-minute presentation about utilizing new technological advances to increase a farm’s economic viability while maintaining soil health, water quality and sustainable food productions. They then delivered their presentation to a panel of judges, all local natural resource professionals.
Ingraham High School in Seattle won this year’s competition and will be representing Washington State at the National competition this July in North Carolina.
Mark joined KCD in the spring of 2018 as Outreach Coordinator. A transplant from Montana, Mark brings with him a decade of experience in conservation and land-use issues. After graduating from the University of Montana, Mark spent several years teaching natural history in and around Glacier National Park. He also completed two terms of service as an AmeriCorps Volunteer with the Montana Conservation Corps. Most recently, Mark channeled his passion for the outdoors working to engage communities on wildlife and conservation issues while working for the Montana Wildlife Federation. When not developing KCD’s outreach program, Mark can be found hiking in the mountains with his wife Tia and their dog River.