A five-member team of students from Carroll County, named Venturing Crew 202, is the winner of the 24th annual Maryland Envirothon — an outdoor natural resources competition that challenges students to identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys and solve other complex natural resource issues. More than 100 challengers from 18 counties across Maryland took part in this year’s competition. The event was held June 18-19 at the Camp Pecometh in Queen Anne’s County.
“It is great to see such a sincere interest in the science side of the environment,” said Secretary Buddy Hance. “With the strong leadership and scientific expertise of these students, the outlook for our natural resources and agricultural industry is indeed very bright.”
The five Carroll County students attend three different high schools in the region. Team members are: Rebecca Gross, Ben Fleury, Elliot Hirtle, Amy Donna Bittier, Madison Warfield and coach Claudia Lewis. The team will participate in the Diamond Jim striped bass tagging component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Captain Joseph G. Richardson along with his charter boat “Dancer” and a DNR biologist will take the students out on the Chesapeake Bay on June 26th to help with this event.
The second place team is the Clear Spring Trailblazers from Clear Spring High School in Washington County. The third place team, named Grapes, is from Harford Christian High School in Harford County.
The Maryland Envirothon is held once a year at an outdoor environmental education center. Students taking part in the competition study Maryland’s natural resources for a year in hopes of winning. Working in teams of five with one to two alternates, students are trained and tested in four natural resource areas including soils, aquatics, forestry and wildlife plus an environmental issue that changes from year to year. This year’s special environmental issue was Sustainable Agriculture. Each team’s knowledge, teamwork and problem solving skills are tested and evaluated under the supervision of foresters, soil scientists and wildlife specialists.
Members of the top three teams were awarded scholarships ranging from $300 to $1,000 through the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board Scholarship Program. In addition, winning team members received a wildlife print, Maryland Envirothon shirt and other prizes.
The Carroll County team was also the high scorer in the “soils” category of the competition with a score of 93.0 points out of a possible 100. The Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientists (MAPSS) presented each member of the team with a cash award of $50. In addition, the team received a print and gift cards.
Established in 1990, the Maryland Envirothon aims to test students’ environmental knowledge and understanding of state resource issues and to instill a desire to learn more about the natural world. More than 30 states, Canada and Australia send teams to the international competition.