Regional High School Environmental Science Competition to be Held in Westchester
Westchester high school students will compete for the first time in Westchester County in a regional high school environmental science competition on Friday, May 13, at Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem.
The Envirothon is open to all public and private high schools in the county and each competing high school may enter up to two teams consisting of five students plus up to two alternates and an adult advisor. Registration is open now through Friday, April 22. The winner will move on to the New York State Envirothon on Wednesday and Thursday, May 25 and 26, at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “I’m thrilled that the county’s high school students will have the opportunity to put their environmental science skills on display and partake in friendly competition. Good luck to all participants!”
Westchester County Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor said, “Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem is one of our hidden gems of Westchester and I’m excited to welcome local high school students to explore the park while competing in the Envirothon. I wish the participants the best of luck!”
County students previously participated in the now-defunct Hudson Valley Regional Envirothon in Dutchess County. That event involved teams from nine counties in the lower Hudson River region, but the sponsoring county soil and water conservation districts decided to dissolve the larger event in favor of smaller, local events. Westchester County has consistently sent more high school teams to the regional event than any other county. This year, the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District is working with the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation and the Watershed Agricultural Council to host the event at Mountain Lakes Park.
Westchester County Planning Commissioner Norma Drummond said, “We have supported the regional and state Envirothons for many years. It gives students experience working as part of a team and sharpens their knowledge of the natural environment, including key issues facing the world we live in today.”
The primary goal of the Envirothon is to encourage students to learn about natural resources and to become good stewards of the natural environment. The competing teams are tested on their knowledge of five environmental topics: soils, land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife; as well as a changing subtopic that focuses on a relevant environmental issue. This year’s environmental issue is on managing different types of waste generated by individuals, households, communities, businesses, manufacturing, agriculture, and industry. As they prepare for the competition, students develop research skills, practice team building and gain an appreciation for consensus decision making.
Soil and water conservation districts typically sponsor Envirothons, and Westchester County’s district has been a sponsor of both the regional and state events since their inceptions, providing both financial and staff support. The County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation this year is providing significant staffing, organizational and administrative support. The Watershed Agricultural Council’s East of Hudson Office is also providing generous support for the event.
Currently, approximately 500,000 students from 45 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces/territories participate in the competition. They are all vying to compete in the North American Envirothon, which this year will be held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio on July 24-30.