by Cate Waters
North’s Envirothon team placed fourth in the North American Envirothon the week of July 27 in Springfield, Missouri. The team competed against approximately 55 teams from across the country and around Canada.
The team competed in a statewide competition in May, which they won, allowing them to go to a national competition during the summer.
Each year there are five main topics: forestry, soils, water, wildlife, and a current issue. The current issue changes every year. This year’s current issue was urban forestry.
For the competition there is a written test on each of the five topics as well as a prepared oral presentation on the current issue.
For the presentation the team receives a problem or prompt and the team must come up with a solution to the prompt and present it. “You’re given the prompt a day before the presentation; after it’s given, each team gets sequestered in a room for about 7 hours to prepare the presentation,” said Liao.
The prompt includes all five of the main topics but the focus is on the current issue which, this year, was urban forestry.
The team presented in front of a panel of judges for 15 to 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions. The top four teams then present again in front of everyone.
The written tests are a series of questions that the team works on together.
“The tests are graded out of 100 points,” said Liao. “There are a panel of judges who decide the score for the presentation. Your team’s placing depends on the overall score.”
The overall score is the sum of the points from the tests and the points from the oral presentation.
“The test asked a lot of Missouri-specific questions and there were lots of resources to cover. However, we did our best to prepare and I feel we did well overall,” said junior Christina Cong.