Envirothon Team Goes to Nationals

This summer, Benet Academy’s Envirothon Team competed in the week-long Envirothon competition in Pocatello, Idaho. An Envirothon is an annual competition about ecology and natural resource management that tests students in five major topics of these fields. There are four set topics – Aquatic Ecology, Wildlife, Forestry, and Soils – and one rotation topic, which this year was Rangelands. Teams are comprised of five members, with Benet Academy sending current students Paul Skaluba and Kaylie Scorza, as well as now-graduates Brice Dirl, Ryan Habeck, and Sarah Habeck. They competed in a field of fifty, with forty-three teams coming from the United States, five from the Canadian provinces, and two from China.

Testing began on a Tuesday. Each team took five one hour tests, one for each of the five aforementioned topics. Then, on Thursday, the teams were given supplies and approximately seven hours to create a twenty-minute oral presentation on how to solve a problem given to them by the judges, testing each team’s knowledge of how to properly manage a given area with respect to all factors, while also addressing environmental, economic, social, and political benefits. Teams then presented the next day, Friday, to a panel of judges. The presentation score was worth twice as many points as the tests previously administered and could make or break a team’s chances. The teams with the top three cumulative scores from the two previous rounds of testing and presentation were then called before an even larger judging panel to present again. These scores were then used to determine first, second, and third place.

Benet finished sixteenth in this competition, giving strong performances in both Aquatic Ecology and Wildlife. It was a good year for the team; yet, they will surely strive to do even better next year, now turning their attention to the recruitment and training of their next roster.