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W.Va. conservation districts to host 20th Annual Envirothon - 10/7/16
posted by: Bill Wolfe


CHARLESTON, W.Va., February 19, 2016 - The West Virginia Envirothon opened a world of opportunities for Cara Farr.


Farr, now a soil scientist who works as a watershed manager in the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, was once a student at Shady Spring High School near Beckley in Raleigh County. She competed in the 1998-2000 Envirothons. She said the competitions instilled in her a passion for science and teamwork.


“I was always the team member in charge of soils, and that’s when I really fell in love with it. It was the resource that everybody else always tended to overlook,” she said. “Everybody else liked fish, wildlife -- the things with eyeballs -- but they weren’t paying as much attention to soils.”


As a winner, she was able to put scholarship money toward her education at West Virginia University, where she earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in soil sciences. Her career has included positions in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Idaho. 


Each year, the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts (WVACD) hosts the state’s Envirothon competition, a conservation education program and competition for students in grades nine through 12. The West Virginia Envirothon focuses on five subject areas: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current environmental topic. By participating in the Envirothon program students learn about West Virginia's diverse ecosystem and how they can help conserve and protect it for future generations.


“Envirothon is a competition for high school students with a focus on conservation education in an outdoors environment,” said John Sencindiver, State Envirothon Committee chairman. “The main purpose is to teach participants how to address environmental issues outside of their classrooms and make a positive difference in conservation efforts. Students benefit in many ways and may develop an appreciation for what our natural resources provide to us all. They see the need for conservation firsthand and learn why it’s so important to be good stewards for our environment.”


Teams are made up of five students with one adult adviser or chaperone. Many have chosen a teacher. Teams can be created through school clubs, home school groups, classes, 4-H groups, Scout troops, etc. Once formed, teams must register for the upcoming West Virginia Envirothon, get their study materials and find ways to prepare for the competition. Teams are tested on their natural resource knowledge, skills and problem-solving abilities.


“This is the 20th annual West Virginia Envirothon and the competition remains strong because people are interested in having an increased awareness of their surroundings and how to best care for our natural resources worldwide,” Sencindiver said. “As a retired West Virginia University soil science professor, I value this program and really appreciate the enthusiasm the students bring each year to this competition. The winning team receives prizes in the form of scholarships for college and represents West Virginia in the National Envirothon competition. It’s a great way to reward the future generation of conservationists.”


The 20th annual West Virginia Envirothon competition is scheduled for April 21-22 at Camp Caesar in Cowen, Webster County.  This is the second year the competition will take place at Camp Caesar. Locations rotate around the state as facility availability and costs allow. 


For more specific information, go to http://www.wvca.us/envirothon/.



Attachments: 12853_Envirothon2016.pdf


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