Envirothon connects students with scientists, present-day scenarios
CASTLE ROCK – A contingent of Advanced Placement (AP) science students from Castle View High School (CVHS) recently made the trek to Alamosa for an intense round of problem-solving and a test of their knowledge. They returned to Castle Rock with several affirmations of their abilities.
High school teams from around the state competed in the Colorado State Envirothon, a two-day environmental competition, held May 14-15 in Alamosa Colorado. While many of the teams had studied for the Envirothon since September, the three teams from CVHS Teacher Jenny Dallman’s AP Environmental Science class formed just a few weeks prior to the event, and spent long hours preparing to compete.
The focus of the challenge revolved around five base subjects: Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils and Wildlife, with a focus on Urban Forestry, the event’s special topic. Upon arrival at the Envirothon, teams were given a real-life environmental challenge, a budget and three hours to devise a solution.
“They weren’t given any help,” Dallman said. “They really had to use their heads!”
During dinner that evening, students had an opportunity to meet specialists from the field and discuss techniques and best practices related to urban forestry, soil conservation, watersheds and other topics of environmental interest.
Teams presented their problem/solution to judges the following day. Additionally, teams were required to rotate through stations representing each of the base subjects, and respond to 50 questions at each station.
Judges for the event included wildlife biologists, foresters, game wardens, soil and agriculture specialists and representatives from the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Forests and the National Park Service. Awards were given for high scores in each of the base subject question sets.
Dallman was impressed with the caliber of the competition.
“These are real-world. Soil is the foundation of all life, and all living organisms need water. With that understanding and knowledge of other serious environmental issues, students can make a difference, whether it’s in their own lives or being part of the global solution,” Dallman explained. “Most people don’t know that soil erosion is the number one cause of water pollution, why soil conservation is so important to agriculture or how watersheds are being polluted and depleted. These are examples of real problems our students will have to deal with as food and clean water becomes more expensive and harder to come by.”
The CVHS teams also impressed Dallman, capturing first place in both the Aquatic Ecology division and the Soils division. Teams received second and third place trophies in the overall competition; fourth place was also nabbed by a CVHS team.
Castle View High School Envirothon Teams
Josh Cronin, Payton Dearborn, Elle McCombs, Reilly Miller, Emily Pacula (First in Aquatic Ecology and Second place overall)
JP Kreft, Amber Lamdin, Brooke Pearson, Nick Sandberg, Tanner Wilkinson (First in Soils and Third place overall)
Mitch Grunder, Audrey Keim, Julie Plonsky, Hayden Simons, Max Tuttle (Fourth place overall)