High school students gathered at Wehrum Stadium at Herkimer County Community College Wednesday to compete in the 2013 Herkimer County Envirothon.
Since 1992, the Envirothon has been a hands-on educational event in the field of natural resource conservation coordinated by the Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District. This year 50 students from Ilion, Frankfort-Schuyler, Poland, West Canada and Herkimer County BOCES participated in the event with advisers and volunteers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Herkimer County SWCD and Herkimer County Community College.
West Canada Valley Central School’s Team B took first place at the county Envirothon and will go on to compete in the state Envirothon at SUNY Morrisville. Team members are Caleb Sherwood, Jared Chlus, Carly Sherwood, Mark Farrel and Sam Straney.
During the competition, students rotated through five testing stations, which included wildlife, aquatics, soils, forestry and a current issue of “sustainable rangeland management,” according to Envirothon Coordinator and Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District Technician Gerry Smithson.
“The event helps to bring a general knowledge of forest conservation and it also allows the students the chance to meet people who work in the area of environmental conservation and better understand there are jobs out there in which they can pursue a career in something they enjoy,” he said.
HCCC Professor of Biology Ron Carvin, who has taken part in the Envirothon since it began and writes the exams for the wildlife station, said all the specimens used at the station were from the Natural History Museum on the college campus.
“Through the station the students learn an awful lot about the natural history of specimens and they are pretty amazed at the way animals act,” he said.
Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA Soil Scientist Amy Langner assists the students and writes the exams for the soil station. This year she helped prepare the students during a March training session at Herkimer County BOCES.
“The students said the training really helped them get ready for the event and they feel more confident this year competing in the competition,” she said.
At the soil station Langner set up a soil profile for students to identify different types of soil and answer the questions about soil horizons.
“The kids really enjoy the event and they are always excited to come back and compete every year,” said William Chapman, West Canada Valley Central School Envirothon coach and science teacher. “This year the kids are hungry to win the competition and they have undergone a lot of preparation throughout the past few months.”