Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center hosts 2015 Envirothon Competition

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KIRKWOOD, Mo. — What may turn out to be some of tomorrow's conservation leaders met at Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood April 2 for a fierce competition of nature knowledge.

In reality, the rivalry was more friendly than ferocious as 30 high school students from six five-member teams met to square off for the St. Louis area Envirothon 2015 competition. Participating schools included Parkway North, McKinley CLA and McCluer North High Schools. The competition was put on in partnership by MDC, regional Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and St. Charles County.

The Envirothon is a hands-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school students in the U.S. and Canada. The challenge is divided into six categories covering aquatics, forestry, wildlife, soils, current environmental issues, and oral presentations. Participating teams complete training and testing in each natural resource category.

The students spent the day rotating through each of six stations. They busied themselves identifying fish, comparing soil samples, examining animal pelts and track castings, measuring trees and pushing the limits of their live presentation skills in order to complete test questions. Expert members in each discipline from the partner agencies and others lent their time to score the results.

When the final results were presented at the end of the day, a team from Parkway North earned first place, a team from McKinley CLA took second place, and a second Parkway North team placed third.

"We're very proud of all of the students who have dedicated hours of preparation for the competition and are pleased with the support they've received from their schools," said MDC Education Consultant Steve Juhlin. "These are the faces of tomorrow's conservation leaders!"

Juhlin added that the top three teams of the day would move on to vie in Jefferson City at the Statewide Envirothon Competition on May 1.

"Missouri is pleased to host this year's international competition in Springfield July 27-August 2," Juhlin also pointed out.

According to its official website, Envirothon is North America's largest high school environmental education competition. It works in partnership with local conservation districts, forestry associations, educators, and cooperating natural resource agencies to organize and conduct competitions on the local, regional, state, and/or provincial level. Winning teams from each state and province advance to the North American Envirothon for an opportunity to compete for recognition, scholarships, and prizes. For more information on Envirothon, go to Envirothon.org/.