Charter School of Wilmington Wins 2008 Canon Envirothon Competition in Arizona The five-member team of high school students from Charter School of Wilmington were able to tough out an action-packed week of competition held at the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., and come home champions. Charter team members Matthew Fischel, Erin McMillan, Lauren Bleakney, Justin Kurian and Rebecca Roelofs were just five of the 265 teenagers from 45 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces who competed in the 2008 Canon Envirothon, North America’s largest environmental education competition, held July 28 through Aug. 3.
The Canon Envirothon tests teams on their knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and a current environmental issue. The issue for this year’s competition was Recreational Impacts on Natural Resources. The competing teams focused on long-term and short-term environmental, social and economic factors relative to recreational impacts upon natural resources and their management.
In addition to the actual competition, the event also includes social, cultural, and educational activities organized by the Canon Envirothon Host Committee. The week is full of activity with hardly a minute to spare. Monday, the arrival day, included an opening ceremony and a presentation of state/province flags followed by a team trading session and ice cream social. Tuesday was a full day of training and Wednesday was a full day of testing. The day to unwind was Thursday, when the students were treated to a spectacular day-long trip to the Grand Canyon followed by a Mexican fiesta-themed dinner. On Friday, they were back to work again, receiving training all morning on the environmental issue. They were then sequestered for nine hours in order to prepare their oral presentations to be given the next morning.
The preliminary round of oral presentations began at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning and ended at noon. After lunch the top five teams were announced, and then had to give their oral presentations a second time to a separate set of judges. When all was said and done, the Charter School of Wilmington came out on top – a whole 30 points ahead of the 2nd place team.
At a dinner banquet on Saturday night, the Delaware team members were each presented with a $5,000 Canon scholarship for winning first place overall and Canon video equipment for their advisor and sponsoring organization. The team also was honored for having the highest score in the wildlife category.
Upon their arrival home, Charter team members and their advisors, Beenu and Rakesh Gupta, were greeted by a large gathering of families, friends and other supporters. "We surprised the team. Balloons, banners and backslapping all helped to mark this special and historic occasion," said Derek Stoner, chair of the Delaware Envirothon Aquatic Ecology resource committee. "Each team member felt the whole experience in Arizona was wonderful, from visiting the Grand Canyon to getting to spend time with the kids from the other states and provinces," he said.
Stoner added that each team member expressed their appreciation for the excellent preparation given to them by the Delaware Envirothon. "They were thankful for all those who work so hard to make the state competition the wonderful event that it is, and for providing the training necessary to help the team excel on a national stage," said Stoner.
Competitions were held on the local level during the past year, with more than 500,000 students competing throughout North America to earn the distinction of representing their state, province or territory at the Canon Envirothon.
Locally, the Delaware Envirothon is sponsored by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts. Members of the planning committee represent the Sussex Conservation District, the Kent Conservation District, the New Castle Conservation District, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Forest Service, the University of Delaware - Cooperative Extension, Delaware Nature Society, Artesian Water Company, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Delaware Center for Inland Bays, and the Delaware Solid Waste Authority.
Source: DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL
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