Envirothon at Center for Environment Helps Connect Students to Natural World

04/28/09 by Staff Writer

Environmental educator Gail Lemiec brings the tools of her trade to the Area 8 Envirothon at the Center for the Environment at Catawba College – coyote furs and bobcat skulls, owl wings and hawk talons.

The lessons abound: An owl’s fringed wings make no noise; plant-eating animals, like beavers, have very different teeth from meat-eating animals like bobcats. The Envirothon on Tuesday and Wednesday brought more than 220 students and a host of advisors and volunteers to the Center for the competition sponsored by the Area 8 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The top seven teams will go to the state competition, which will be held April 24-25 at Cedarock Park in Alamance County.

The Envirothon is an event for high school and middle school teams to compete in natural resources knowledge and ecology. Five-member teams attended informative presentations in the morning and were tested on their knowledge in the afternoon. Topics ranged from aquatics and current environmental issues to forestry, soils and wildlife.

Envirothon at Center for the Environment

Area 8 includes Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties. The competition is open to ecology clubs, Girl and Boy Scout troops, FFA chapters, 4H clubs and home-study, environmental and vocational agriculture groups.

The purpose of the Envirothon is to help young people become more aware of their impact on the environment. “If they are more knowledgeable, they will make better decisions about complex environmental issues,” says Andy Miller, chairman of the Southern Piedmont Envirothon Committee.

Kurt Cribb, the Center’s special projects coordinator, notes that the Center is pleased to host the annual competition. “We are glad to be involved with an event that helps to connect young people with the natural world,” he says. “If they know about it and care about it, they will be more likely to preserve our natural resources and recognize the value of a healthy environment.”

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