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Envirothon Benefits Students Beyond High School

By Mary Kerr/Co-Social Media Director

According to past Envirothon members, participating in the club has added benefits that go beyond their high school experience.

Photo provided by the Susquehanna County Conservation District

2018 Blue Ridge High School graduate, Hunter Conklin, says, “Without a doubt the most rewarding aspect from the school’s Envirothon club was getting to the competition and actually knowing things other people don’t. In school, a lot of problem solving is done mentally. You know, seeing an equation and working out the answer and stuff that everyone else is learning. Envirothon gives the select few a grasp on topics that very few people understand and a much better understanding of the world as we know it.”

Furthermore, Conklin says Envirothon prepared him for his current educational experience in important ways.

“As an international business major, what I learned through Envirothon, for the most part, did not necessarily directly prepare me for [my college major], however, it did teach me helpful ways to study, how to work as a team, and how to grasp and retain information. That itself was worth every minute.”

According to Envirothon advisor David Corbin, participating in an event like the Envirothon competition requires a lot of preparation and dedication.


Photo provided by the Susquehanna County Conservation District

Past Envirothon winners have benefited immensely from the opportunities they were given and achievements they have accomplished. Blue Ridge High School had two other sets of teams win at the 2018 Envirothon competition held at Elk Mountain. “The Price is Right” team, made up of last year’s graduates, Abby Hartman, Miranda Brulla, Luke Updyke, Hunter Conklin, and Garrett Mansfield, won first place at the 2018 Envirothon competition. They finished with a total of 319 points and qualified for the state competition. Their achievements were awarded at the class of 2018’s Honor’s Night where they were each gifted with an embroidered jacket and each received a check for $800.00.

In addition, “The Bog Turkey’s” team, also made up of last year’s senior members, Emma Glezen, Travis Hickling, Courtney Randall, Charlie Randall, and Cole Auckland, placed second at the 2018 Envirothon competition. Both teams were rewarded with an all exclusive, two day trip (June 13-14 2018), touring the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

This shows that even when students do not plan on studying science-related majors at the college level or working in a science-oriented job, Envirothon can help prepare its members for real-life situations.

“I would tell upcoming Envirothon teams to be just that… a team. Work together to figure out solutions to a problem. Don’t simply assign someone to a specific topic. In the long run, although it may be a bit more difficult, having all of you have at least some knowledge on each topic will work wonders when it comes to competition time,” says Conklin.

Corbin, who replaced former Blue Ridge High School science teacher Edward Price when he retired at the end of last year, says he looks forward to the Envirothon competitions and working with students who are dedicated to learning more about science and the environment.  

Price, who led the school’s Envirothon teams to multiple victories over the last eight years, was assisted by Corbin and elementary teacher Trudi Helpler; and Corbin helped prepare a team for last year’s Envirothon competitions.

The team, called “The Young Bucks,” placed fifth out of 23 teams and was made up of current sophomores, Connor Mills, Cassidy Howe, Lydia Andusko, Mason Conklin, and Anthony Torres. 

Photo provided by Connor Mills

“This team plans to participate again, and we expect them to do very well,” says Corbin.

Corbin plans on preparing this year’s Envirothon teams by “discussing content in the classroom, examining research within the field of environmental science, conducting investigations, and recording observations in the field.”

When asked how many teams he predicts to have this year and his goals for those teams, Corbin says, “As many that are willing to prepare. Goals include competing and preparing for the success they wish to have in the Envirothon competition.”

Corbin says taking on Envirothon without Price may be a challenge, referring to Price as “the Envirothon guru.”

Sophomore Connor Mills, a member of “The Young Bucks” winning team, is excited for this year’s competition and his returning team’s capabilities.

Mills says that his goals for his team this year are, “to study even harder and do even better. We set the bar high last year as freshmen, taking fifth place, so it is only fitting that we place higher this year.

For Mills, the club “really shows you how little people really know about their planet and how the beauty in it is being taken away by destructiveness, invasive species, illegal hunting, etcetera.”

He believes the Envirothon program benefits students now and in the future.

“The club teaches us to learn how to compete with a team that sometimes doesn’t know all of the answers but pushes through to find the best one.”

Photo provided by the Susquehanna County Conservation District



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