Broadneck Envirothon teams win 2nd and 5th at the annual competition.
On Friday April 13th, the Broadneck High School Envirothon teams showcased their scientific expertise at Arlington Echo and faced other Envirothon teams from across Anne Arundel County. The five topics that teams were tested on included aquatics, forestry, soils, wild life, and a special fifth issue that relates to the major ecosystem of the national competition’s location. This year, the fifth issue centered on western rangelands because the national competition will be held in Idaho. Last year, the national competition was held in Maryland, so the fifth issue was related to maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
According to Envirothon participant Brook Lesikar, Envirothon is “a group of five students who work together to study natural resources over the course of the year.” This group of students prepare for the topics they are assigned by their sponsor, Mr. Bem. In his room, during bruin blocks leading up to the event, students learn about their topics through Powerpoints, worksheets, and hands-on learning. Lesikar said, “We involve a lot of hands-on learning, including ribbon testing, identifying plant species outside, and even identifying the age of a deer by looking at a deer jaw.”
The competition that was held in Arlington Echo included teams from around the county, including four teams from Broadneck High school. To compete in Envirothon, each team works together for the task at hand. This year, a total of only 20 students could go on the field trip and, since Broadneck’s Envirothon club ended up with a surplus of members, not all members were able to compete. The fact that members weren’t able to compete is surprising considering the fact that Envirothon at Broadneck has always had just enough people to compete, and only started three years ago.
Broadneck’s signature program includes environmental literacy, a focus clearly supported through the Envirothon competition. This focus is central to the beliefs of Envirothon as Sam Sheats, a senior, said, “[Envirothon] helps drive in the importance of environmental awareness and the surrounding community.” In addition, junior Envirothon member Leah Burkhardt said, “Envirothon is important because it helps students learn about environmental issues in a fun, competitive way.”
Leadership and interests in science fields are fundamental qualities of all Envirothon members. When asked what his role was in the club, Sheats said, “My role was to give advice to the lower classes about how to be successful in the competition.” This is just one example of how leadership is intertwined with clubs at Broadneck, specifically those connected to the signature programs of Broadneck.
Actively participating in clubs like Envirothon is growing in popularity at Broadneck, and increases environmental awareness. As previously noted, competitions are annual events and incorporate many topics. One of Leah Burkhardt’s favorite memories is “getting to hang out with [her] friends and other students passionate about the environment.” If you are interested in spending an entire day competing outdoors at Arlington Echo, Envirothon could be a good fit for you. Contact the Envirothon coordinator, Mr. Bem, for more information regarding becoming a part of the Envirothon chapter of Broadneck.