By Johnna McHugh
Division of Conservation
Grazing management was the theme as students from across the Commonwealth converged to compete in this year’s state-wide Envirothon, a competition that tested their knowledge of soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology and a current environmental issue affecting Kentucky. The contest placed 10 teams head-to-head May 16-17 at the Kentucky Leadership Center in Jabez, Ky.
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, won the overall competition and will go on to represent Kentucky at the North American Envirothon at Idaho State University in late July. In addition to being the overall winners, the Fayette County students were also the highest scoring team in the soils and oral presentation portions of the competition.
A team from Madison Southern High School had the highest scores in the forestry and aquatics categories, with Gatton Academy’s team receiving the highest scores in the wildlife and current issue categories.
North Hardin High School placed as the highest scoring team affiliated with a local FFA chapter. This team will represent Kentucky, in conjunction with the National FFA Convention, at the Environmental and Natural Resources Career Development Event, in Indiana this October.
“The Envirothon is a wonderful competition for high school students who have a passion for natural resources and the environment,” said Carly Burton, program manager for the National Conservation Foundation (NCF)’s Envirothon program. “It allows them to explore the nature around them while learning more about the world outside the classroom.”
The Kentucky Envirothon is a yearly competition, in existence since 1999, is sponsored by the Kentucky Division of Conservation, the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the Kentucky Division of Water, the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts, the Kentucky Corn Growers, the Kentucky Small Grain Growers, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Smithfield Foods, the Kentucky Poultry Federation, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension, the Kentucky Association of Conservation District Employees and the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary.
Burton said the NCF Envirothon goal has always been to develop knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who have an understanding of natural resources and who are willing to work towards achieving and maintaining a balance of life, and the quality of the environment.