• Local teams pick up first place win in the state and another team goes onto competition in Indianapolis
In the statewide Envirothon Competition, students are rotated from state to station to answer practical questions such how much wood composes an area of the forest? What is its habitat value for wildlife? And how does the water stand a test for the pH balance?
These are the kinds of questions – plus a surprise on each year – that students involved in Future Farming programs of America tackle. This year’s pop question dealt with identifying non-point source pollution.
Homer students competing in the annual Envirothon in Palmer took top honors from among 60 statewide students, and now are on their way to the national competition in Pennsylvania.
Instructor Al Poindexter, with the USDA Soil and Water Conservation District, composed a separate team of Homer high school students who traveled along with the Homer High School Future Farmers of America team to the annual competition in Palmer. The competition asks students to answer questions along several categories on habitat and water.
The five who won 1st place, and present Alaska at the national event are, Sachiko Knisely, Ben Knisely, Nicole Poindexter, Emily Schmidt and Lucas Reyes.
Now the students will be raising funds to pay their way to Pennsylvania, where they will compete May 22-23 with teams from all 49 other states and each province of Canada.
The competition, with its questions about finding the Ph balance in water and identifying micro invertebrates, is no easy contest. Yet, placing high for the sixth year in a row and moving on to competition means a consistently motivated group of young people, Poindexter said.
“That really says a lot about the quality of kids in this program,” he said.
The additional four Homer Future Farmers of America students teamed up to participate in this year’s Envirothon. They finished first in the team competition, which qualifies them for the National competition in Indianapolis in the fall. They will be fundraising for this event this summer and fall.
Traven Apiki, Wendy Jones, Brittany Jones and Kenley Kingrey also participated in the FFA Career Development Event, where they received several honors:
Creed Speaking: 1st Kenley Kingrey
Floriculture: 1st Team
Individual Floriculture: 1st, Traven Apiki
Individual Floriculture: 3rd Wendy Jones
Plant Identification: 2nd Traven Apiki
Plant Identification: 2nd, Wendy Jones, Brittany Jones and Sachiko Knisely tied
Floral Knowledge: 2nd, Traven Apiki
Floral Knowledge: 3rd, Emily Schmidt
Corsage: 1st, Wendy Jones
Corsage: 2nd, Kenley Kingrey
Corsage: 3rd, Lucas Reyes
Team Arrangement: 2nd
Team Parliamentary procedure: 1st
Job Interview: 3rd, Emily Schmidt
At the Envirothon, teams of five high school students again compete in field testing using their knowledge in five topic areas – Soils and Land Use, Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife, and Environmental Issues. A current environmental issue is chosen each year as the “hot topic” for the focus of this station as well as the oral presentation component.
No telling what this year’s hot topic will be, but the one at the statewide competition involved answering a question about non-source point pollution.
Students are exposed to scientists and experts in the fields of environmental science and ecology who will coach and guide their learning experience. Teams will first compete in a county Envirothon, with winners advancing to the state contest where over $10,000 in scholarships and prizes are awarded. State winners earn the chance to compete at the Canon Envirothon, North America’s largest high school natural resource education competition, and a chance to win scholarships and Canon products.
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