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Two Morris Area teams advance to State Envirothon

Four teams from Morris Area, along with two teams from Hancock, competed at the recent Area II Envirothon held April 23 at the Luther Crest Bible Camp and Retreat Center, Alexandria. Two of the Morris teams will be advancing to the State Envirothon on May 14, at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls.

The ENVIRO 5 team placed first overall and third in the oral presentation. The GREEN LADIES, who received third place overall, will also advance to the State Envirothon. Both teams were coached by volunteer advisor Vicky Dosdall.

"We thank and congratulate her for taking the time to get the teams together for practices and helping them prepare for the competition," said Judy Johnston, Education and Promotion Coordinator, Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District.

Breckenridge also will be advancing to the State Envirothon with the second place overall team.

Morris Area also had two new teams, TEAM GREEN and TEAM E. They were coached by Mr. Balken, who is an Environmental Science Teacher at Morris Area. For their first year they did very well also and ended up in the top third of the 30 total teams.

Hancock High School brought two teams. They are coached by High School Science Teacher Ben Tolles.

"Mr. Tolles has been great to bring students each year to our Area II event," said Johnston. "They are always eager to enjoy and take in a day of outdoor learning.

"Stevens SWCD is extremely proud to sponsor and support our local teams and to take an active part in organizing and carrying out the Area II Envirothon each year," Johnston said. "We know the importance of teaching youth about our ecology and natural resources and the Envirothon is a great opportunity to do this."

In addition to the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District, the Stevens County Comprehensive Local Water Plan and Lawn & Driveway Service also allocate money toward the local teams to participate.

The Area Envirothon is modeled after state and national competitions, and staff from area Soil and Water Conservation Districts work to plan and carry out the area event each year. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate in this event. Envirothon provides a unique, hands-on outdoor competition for high school students. The competitions challenge student's environmental knowledge and problem solving skills at learning stations based on key areas of the environment. The station information is presented by natural resource professionals in the fields of wetlands, wildlife, forestry, soils and current issue 2008 (Recreational Impact on Natural Resources). The students also work collaboratively to answer 20-25 questions at each station in addition to preparing ahead of time and making a 10-minute oral presentation about the current issue topic.

"Special thanks to the committee, presenters, judges and sponsors for making the 2008 Area II Event a hugh success," said Johnston.

Agencies involved include Area II Soil and Water Conservation Districts, NRCS, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Services, Local Water Watershed Districts in Area II, local wildlife groups, Douglas County Parks, and Bremer Bank.

Contact Stevens SWCD Education & Promotion Coordinator Judy Johnston, Coordinator for the Area II Envirothon, for more information on organizing a team or sponsoring your local event at 320-589-4886 ext. 114.