By: Olivia Martin/Senior Writer
On Thursday March 26, 2020 Envirothon was officially cancelled, until it wasn’t! That’s right, Envirothon has gone virtual!
Although COVID-19 changed how we do many things, including how the Envirothon competition is rolled out, students’ participation was facilitated in a way that allowed for active engagement.
Why does this matter? Envirothon is an annual competition Blue Ridge club members prepare for all year long.
According to the club’s advisor, Chase Floyd, “When Envirothon was cancelled, I was despondent since I had been looking forward to this year’s event. By this time almost everything going on during 2020 had been cancelled though, but this one still stung a bit more. When I received the news that the competition was going virtual though, my spirits were immediately raised knowing that my students would still get a chance to compete and show off their Envirothon Knowledge!”
Floyd says students worked hard all year, and, for the most part, had the prerequisite knowledge and necessary skills to compete.
“I feel that one can never be too prepared for anything, but I do feel as though the students were ready to take on this virtual challenge. Despite the fact that a lot of our in-class work had been designed to prepare the students for the hands-on, outdoor aspects of the Envirothon, (learning how to use the Biltmore Sticks and how to count tree rings are good examples of this) we did spend a lot of time learning about the more qualitative and identification-based concepts that were on the Virtual Envirothon.”
For the competition, which began on Monday, May 18, 2020, Floyd sent his students a daily challenge. Emails were sent out at 1 p.m. and participants had until 5 p.m. of the same day to complete it.
Each challenge was made up of 20 question multiple choice questions about that day’s respective Envirothon topic. At the end of each day the scores were compiled by Pennsylvania Envirothon, and the top ten scorers for the day were rewarded with a $20 gift card. At the end of the week top overall scorers received Pennsylvania Envirothon apparel.
The competition’s first day kicked the week off with an event called “Dirty Monday,” a challenge about soils and land use.
The following day, students were quizzed on their knowledge of this year’s current issue with “Trendy Tuesday,” examining “Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions”.
Next, students were presented with “Wildlife Wednesday’s” challenge, which, as many can probably guess, was all about PA wildlife.
That brings the competition into Thursday which was deemed “Thirsty Thursday,” for which the task at hand was an aquatic ecology challenge.
Finally, on May 22, the final day of Virtual Envirothon, students addressed the “Forestry Friday” final challenge focusing on Pennsylvania forestry.
In all, says Floyd, eight students were able to participate in the competition and “they scored competitively on each section.”