Lenape students take 1st at Envirothon

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

BETHEL – Several months of study and preparation paid off big this week for five Lenape Technical School natural resources technology students during the 2013 Envirothon at Crooked Creek Lake's Environmental Learning Center.

The Lenape team, “Warriors” came in first place by a wide margin while competing with a dozen teams from seven area high schools.

As a result, the team will represent Armstrong County in a statewide competition to be held at Juniata College on May 21 and 22. Wednesday's competition tested students' knowledge in areas such as wildlife, forestry, soil and land use, aquatics and the 2013 issue — grazing lands and pasture management.

Event organizer, Jessica Schaub, agricultural technician with the Armstrong County Conservation District, said the overall goal is to get students interested in environmental topics, the outdoors and wildlife. She said many students participating in the event often go into environmental careers.

Schaub has fond memories of her participation in an Envirothon in 1994 while attending Karns City High School, which eventually led to her career in agriculture.

Schaub said students from area high schools were given study packets in January with written guides and computer CDs to prepare for the event.

The studies covered things such as tree identification by bark and leaves and timber use, animal and bird calls and tracks, soil types, aquatic life forms and their relation to water quality and the general environment.

A new theme this year was “Current Issue,” how livestock farmers can use pasture, grazing lands and associated crops to the best advantage.

Envirothon students visited about a dozen different stations where they viewed exhibits and demonstrations and were then given a written test. They had 30 minutes to complete the tests.

Steve Misera, instructor for Lenape's Natural Resources Technology class, said that last year his five-member winning team came in third place.

“The students put a lot of effort into studying for this year's event,” Misera said, “and honestly, I knew they would do well but I was surprised that they took first place by such a wide margin, scoring 288 out of a possible 300 points. We're ready for the state competition at Juniata College in a few weeks.”

He added that if his team should take first place at Juniata. it will go to a national competition at a date and place to be determined.

The winning team was made up of three seniors who competed last year, Tyler Elkin, Ricky Bierer, and Tyler Peters. Two juniors also were part of the team, Liam Doms and Zach Miller. The team was awarded a first-place plaque and each member received a wildlife patch from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and a field guide book of their choice.

Kittanning High School team, “Chiasmata,” took second-place honors and West Shamokin's “Wolves 2” came in third and both teams also received plaques.

Schaub said the event was a lot of fun for all involved but also an invaluable learning experience and she hopes it may lead to exciting careers for the students.

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