Mercer County hosts the Area IV Envirothon in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed
The watershed coordinator assisted with the below event. Mercer County physically hosts the event about once a decade. This year they were co-hosts with Shelby County.
Competition was intense at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein on May 7, 2013, as nearly 350 high school students from Southwest Ohio met in the Area’s annual Envirothon. “Students were tested on their environmental knowledge in five areas including Aquatics, Current Environmental Issues (CEI), Forestry, Soils and Wildlife. The CEI this year focuses on Rangelands/Grasslands. The testing is rigorous, and students must be able to apply their knowledge to real-world situations,” said Nikki Hawk of Mercer SWCD, one of this year’s co-hosts.
The top four teams from the event representing Centerville, Franklin, and Sycamore High Schools advance to the Ohio Envirothon, where they will compete with top teams from the other four areas in the state. The winning team from the Ohio Envirothon then advances to the North American Envirothon, which in 2013 will be held in Montana. Each team consists of five students. An adult advisor must accompany the team, but is not permitted to assist the team during the competition. Major sponsorship for the Area IV Envirothon comes from Cargill, Inc., Honda of America and the 18 Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Southwest Ohio. The Spiritual Center of Maria Stein was a magnificent location for this year’s event. The weather was beautiful and the teams enjoyed an educational day while experiencing the outdoors.
In Ohio, the Envirothon is sponsored by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources – Division of Soil & Water Resources (ODNRDSWR). Professionals from the Division of Wildlife, Division of Forestry,ODNR, USDA, and private industry wrote the Envirothon tests and staffed the various stations. The Envirothon began in Ohio in 1989, and was modeled on a similar program from Pennsylvania. Students who prepare for and participate in the Envirothon gain a greater awareness of natural resources and environmental issues. They meet a wide range of professionals and are exposed to various points of view on environmental
responsibilities while learning about career opportunities.