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Envirothon teams place in top 15

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Two out of four local Envirothon teams – Green Envy and Moderately Adequate – headed off to the Manitoba Envirothon Provincials, held at the International Peace Garden from May 25-27.
Fifty-eight teams of high school students from across the province studied this year’s theme of ‘Agriculture Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship’, with 19 of them competing for the provincial championship.
Returning home a bit disappointed that no Valley teams would be advancing to nationals this year, the ironically named Moderately Adequate – consisting of Shaylin Caryk, Nolan Bushenlonga, Tiana Liske, Eric Verbo, and Jadzea Scales – were recognized for their Excellence in Orals, with their topic discussing why cattle grazing can be more beneficial than crops.
“The competition (at Provincials) was definitely a lot more difficult but there were a lot of the same teams there as last year, so we figured it wouldn’t be that hard,” said Liske, who is a Grade 11 student that has participated in Envirothon for her third year, competing at Provincials for her second time.
“The most challenging part was the field test. It was long and a lot harder than we thought it would be. I didn’t expect the group questions and that made it a lot more challenging.”
Liske has no regrets though, as she felt she and her team were fairly prepared for the competition.
Moderately Adequate’s efforts placed them in eighth place, while Green Envy – consisting of Masen Corbett, Colin Silverthorn, Haley Ferriss, Janna Werbicki, and Hannah Kitch – ended up with a 14th place finish.
While Swan Valley’s teams haven’t placed on the podium in a couple of years now, SVRSS Team Advisor Kari Goethe said that part of the reason for that may be some of the changes in rules and procedures.
“In the past, (students) were given about three hours at the event to prepare their oral presentation, and now they get two or three weeks prior to the competition, and prepare before they go,” she said. “Students are allowed to use any resources they choose and can present their information digitally.
“In my opinion, this is a disadvantage for our teams. The teams spend too much time preparing their oral presentation during the critical time that they should be focused on studying their resources for the field test. Also, teams can access all the required information from the internet and resource books and do not need to rely as much on their own knowledge.”
The two-day contest started on Friday (May 26) with teams travelling a course of 15 Trail Test stations, where they answered a series of questions on core topics like: water and aquatic ecology, wildlife, native plants and forestry, soils and land use and the theme topic, water and soil conservation stewardship – with an emphasis on beneficial management practices.
On Saturday (May 27), teams presented their proposed solutions to an environmental challenge related to soil and water conservation, with an oral presentation before a panel of judges and other teams.
A team representing Westwood Collegiate in Winnipeg usurped the top spot from last year’s champs from Grant Park High School. The winners will represent Manitoba at the NCF Envirothon, held at Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Md. from July 23-29, where 55 teams are expected to attend from across North America and China.

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Jeremy Bergen
REPORTER
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