The Marion Center Bee Hive Five from Marion Center High School won the 28th annual Envirothon held recently at Blue Spruce Park, near Ernest.
Team members were Kaylyn Piper, Michael Ann Chichy, Mayvra Braughler, Jakeb Rising and Kyle Rischell. Their advisor was Tom Betts.
The team will represent Indiana County at the State Envirothon competition later this month.
Each of the five members of the winning team will be awarded a $500 education grant to be used toward post-secondary education. The education grants are funded by donations from local businesses, conservation organizations and private citizens. This year’s contributors were Donald Bowers; Keller Engineers; HDR Engineering Inc.; Elderton State Bank; Stiffler, McGraw and Associates; and the Indiana County Conservation District.
The Envirothon is sponsored annually by the Indiana County Conservation District. Ninety students from Indiana, Marion Center, Penns Manor, Saltsburg and United high schools took part in this year’s contest.
Financial sponsorship and donations for the competition were provided by Ken Sink Chapter of Trout Unlimited and Turner Dairy.
Students began preparing months in advance by studying materials for the competitive event. On the day of the contest, teams of five participated in a series of field-oriented tests that focused on aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife and a current environmental issue. This year’s issue was sustainable agriculture/buying locally.
The teams compete in a variety of testing formats, including some type of identification, such as wildlife skulls or mounts, bird calls, frog calls, furs, fish, macroinvertebrates, trees, plants, insects, soil textures and soil horizons, as well as written questions.
The stations are staffed by personnel from various cooperating agencies.
Not only do these experts provide assistance with preparing and administering tests, they also provide an opportunity for students to become familiar with and interact with different organizations and agencies working to conserve and protect natural resources in Indiana County.
The envirothon shows tomorrow’s leaders the positive and negative effects that individual actions have on the environment. Understanding the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources, realizing environmental interactions and interdependencies, and becoming conscious of how each of us contributes to the overall quality of life are all part of the experience.
Envirothons are offered in 45 states and nine Canadian provinces. Agencies that assist the Conservation District with the envirothon are Indiana County Parks and Trails, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the state Bureau of Forestry, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
[PHOTO: Members of the Marion Center Bee Hive Five, the winning team at this year’s Envirothon were, from left: Tom Betts, adviser, and students Kaylyn Piper, Michael Ann Chichy, Mayvra Braughler, Jakeb Rising and Kyle Rischell. (Submitted photo)]