Students from across Washington state gathered virtually on Zoom last week for the 2021 Washington State Envirothon competition. With last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, the Washington State Envirothon committee was especially excited to hold this year’s competition and made accommodations to support remote and hybrid teaching. Hosted and planned this year with the help of eleven conservation districts across the state, including King Conservation District, this competition is a program that engages high school aged youth in natural resource and environmental sciences. Sixty-eight students, from eleven different schools, participated in the weeklong statewide event.
Through real-world problem solving, the Envirothon competition challenges students to think critically about four main topic areas: Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatic Ecology and Soils and Land Use. Each team was tested on these four topics, where students may have been asked to identify native Washington animals, discuss the different stages of forest development, recognize healthy salmon habitat, or name the main components of soil.
Each year also includes a rotating topic related to a current environmental issue. For 2021, it was “Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solution.” Students were given a natural resource scenario to solve based on the current topic and locally relevant concerns. They developed a 10-minute presentation on a conceptual public property acquisition proposal to demonstrate possible land uses for the long-term benefit/value to both the community and the environment.
Garfield-Palouse High School in Palouse won this year’s competition and will be representing Washington State at the virtual National competition this July hosted by Nebraska.