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September 2, 2003
Volume 33, Number 243
Division of Soil and Water Conservation

Contact: Todd Hawkins, , phone: (302) 739-8014
or Nancy Kimbro, Office of Comminications, phone: (302) 739-4506

Delaware’s Environmental Team Takes The Challenge

What would happen if you gathered five high school students captivated with natural resources and mixed them with 360 colleagues for a week of learning? You would be at the Canon ENVIROTHON™ experiencing five full days of intense knowledge exchange and fun. That is exactly what happened to the 2003 Delaware ENVIROTHON™ State Champions (a team heralding from Wilmington Charter School) during the last week of July at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. And when the event was over ¯ Delaware’s team ‘met-the-challenge’ and returned home after placing 13th, overall.
The Canon ENVIROTHON™ is an International event, which this year brought 47 teams of high school students together from all over the United States and Canada. These students had previously received high honors in their individual states/provinces and were awarded the opportunity to participate in the Canon ENVIROTHON™ representing their homeland. Although these students came from different backgrounds and regional areas, they departed with a common goal: to do their part to improve our environment!
Members of the 2003 Delaware ENVIROTHON State Champion team (Yunzhi Wang, Jay Mittal, Annu Lu, Stephanie Huang and Erin Gallagher) spent many months during the 2002-2003 school year attending various training sessions and working together to learn about our natural resources. On May 2nd, they joined 11 other high school ENVIROTHON™ teams from all over Delaware for the 8th annual Delaware ENVIROTHON™ State Challenge. During this one-day event, all students were tested in their ‘collective’ knowledge of our natural environment in the areas of: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and agricultural land preservation and how these disciplines interact within different ecosystems throughout our state. Teams are also tested as to their oral presentation skills based on an environmental situation.
At the end of the event, final scores were tallied and all the winners announced. Wilmington Charter School ‘Blue’ Team captured 1st place with Polytech High School in close 2nd. Again, this year, Wesley College offered all members of the Delaware ENVIROTHON™ State Champion team a $3,000 renewable academic scholarship for each of the four years they are enrolled in a baccalaureate program of their choice.
Becoming the Delaware ENVIROTHON™ State Champions does not stop at the State Challenge. This team is then provided the chance to represent Delaware in the International Canon ENVIROTHON™ held later in the summer somewhere in the United States or Canada. Because of scholastic or employment commitments, sometimes team members are not able to continue and participate in the International event.
Unfortunately, this situation occurred this year and Anjali Gupta substituted for Erin Gallagher.
Since 1995 the Delaware ENVIROTHON™ has provided high school students the opportunity to learn about our environment from specialists working in aquatic ecology, forestry, soils/land use and wildlife. Each year the program provides a different annual ‘fifth’ subject. Last year students became familiar with the concept of Agricultural Land Preservation. Next year they will be given the chance to learn about Urban Forestry. Over the past few years, this topic has reflected on subjects such as: Urban Non-Point Source Pollution, Pesticide Application, Wildfire Management, and Biodiversity.
The ENVIROTHON™ is sponsored by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts and presented though volunteers from the three county conservation districts, USDA-NRCS, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Artesian Water, Delaware Solid Waste Authority, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, Delaware Nature Society and retirees.
The 2004 Delaware ENVIROTHON™ is now being planned for May 6th at Cape Henlopen State Park. We are hosting an Orientation Reception on September 23rd at the Delaware Department of Agriculture building in Dover, beginning at 5:00 pm. If you are interested in participating in the Delaware ENVIROTHON™ as a team member or an advisor, please contact Todd Hawkins @ 302-739-8014.






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