Hillsborough and Pinellas County high schools participated in the 2017 Tampa Bay Regional Envirothon. This annual environmental education program allows students to use critical thinking skills to investigate and solve environmental issues in the field through hands-on activities.
The District has sponsored the program since it began in 1997 by providing funding to offset the cost of transporting students to the competition. Further support is given by supplying water monitoring kits that teams use to prepare for the competition.
Early in the school year, teachers and volunteer advisers begin to coach the teams and are sponsored by natural resource agencies such as the District. In addition to studying for the core categories of Soil and Land Use, Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, and Wildlife, participating teams concentrated on this year’s environmental issue for the competition, Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship.
Kris Stair, scientific data analyst, represented the District this year at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, where the competition was held on February 23. In addition to helping with annual planning for the event, Stair volunteered by grading tests at the competition’s Aquatics station.
Envirothon allows students to gain an understanding of effective teamwork, resource management and ecology.
“They work hard, but also enjoy themselves at fun, scheduled activities. At the same time, they gain valuable exposure to a range of disciplines while exploring possible career paths,” Stair says.
The overall competition winner was King High School in Hillsborough County. The King High School Lions will be among the top two representative teams from each county to advance to the state-level contest, the Florida Envirothon.