Envirothon Takes First!

By Amanda Bertsch
On the weekend of April 1st, 60 Arizona high school students gathered at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Center. The students were there to participate in the Arizona Envirothon competition, an ecology challenge.
The Envirothon competition has four areas of testing. In aquatic ecology, students test water samples and answer questions about water conservation concepts. In soils and land use, students test soils for texture, chemical content, and color, and use land use booklets to determine best land management practices. In forestry, students use National Park Service equipment to identify trees and determine uses for various types of lumber, and in wildlife, students identify pelts, skulls, photos, and habitat ranges for species.
Each year also has a special topic. This year the competition centered around sustainable agriculture and land use, meaning that the students had two hours to prepare a presentation on the management of a hypothetical farm with a host of issues. They synthesized a thick packet of information into a 10-minute presentation.
Ten Tri-City Prep students participated in this year’s competition, forming two teams. Amanda Bertsch captained a team of Kaleb Lyonnais, Kim Zamora-Delgado, Brianna D’Angelo, and Ethan Krafft, while Tieran Rashid captained a team of Audrey Guess, Julia Goswick, Deven Kohler, and Natalie D’Angelo.
“It truly felt like a team and professional experience,” Tieran Rashid said, adding “we had a lot of fun.”
Bertsch’s team took home 1st in aquatic ecology, 1st in forestry, 2nd in wildlife, and 3rd in soils and land use. They also won the first place overall, meaning they will represent Arizona in the North American Envirothon competition in Baltimore this summer. This is the second time Tri-City has won the top award but the first time the school will be attending the North American competition.

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