On Wednesday, May 25th, the BFUHS reigning State Champs traveled to Mt. Norris Scout Reservation in Eden, Vermont for the 2018 State competition lead once again by advisor Susan Steiner. This year, three of the members were returning from last year’s successful team: co-captains Ethan Lauricella, senior, and Lia Clark, junior, along with Olivia Lauricella, sophomore. New to the team this year was senior Kalvin Wyman. The team struggled to fill the fifth position as two members of the envirothon team were unable to participate that day due to other obligations. Luckily, just weeks before show time, Lila Guerrina, junior, stepped in!
On the day of the competition, the team woke up bright and early, departing hours before their peers’ school day would begin. On the bus, the team did some last minute review and practiced their oral presentation together. When they arrived, they received a map of the area and a schedule for the day. The Envirothon competition consists of five separate tests in five areas of environmental expertise: soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, and an oral presentation specific to a different topic each year.
First up for the BFUHS team was the soils competition. The teammates felt confident with this category because at North Americans last year they had placed 4th out of 57 teams and earlier this year they won the New Hampshire soil competition – two members tying for first and others placing third and fourth. After they breezed through this category, they headed over to Wildlife. Wildlife has been a historically difficult category for BFUHS throughout the years, and it was no different this year. With hundreds of species to choose from, one can hardly predict and perfectly prepare for such a rigorous test, but the BFUHS team did their best and got through the round.
After wildlife, the team had a quick break where they prepared for their oral presentation next round. The topic of the Vermont oral presentation this year was Public Land Management. Each team had the task of selecting a piece of public land in their community, touring that land, and interviewing managers of the land. BFUHS also interviewed their town planner. The team selected Minard’s pond as their public land and expertly crafted a speech detailing how the management plan of the pond was underutilized and how Minard’s pond could better reach out to the community in order to improve their management plan.
Next, the team headed over to aquatics where, feeling confident again, they identified pollution factors, bugs, and labeled a water cycle among other things. Their final category was forestry, another challenging area for BFUHS. At forestry the team answered tree anatomy questions and identified numerous tree species common to Vermont and a few invasive ones as well. A few questions stumped the team (*pun intended*) but the got an answer down for every question.
After having completed the competition part, the suspense built as the team waited for the results. In the end, BFUHS took first place overall for the second year in a row! A 2-Peat! They also won the soils category (no surprise) and the orals. Overjoyed with their victory the team graciously accepted their plaques and boarded the bus for a speedy trip home.
The team is now preparing for the North American competition in the last week of July which will be held in Idaho! The subject is rangelands, a topic BFUHS is unfortunately unfamiliar with as there are few rangelands in Vermont. Lila Guerrina will be replaced by sophomore Meagan Kelly as Guerrina is unable to attend North Americans. The team is excited to head to this new ‘frontier’ and beat their score from last year.
Congratulations Mrs. Steiner and the Envirothon team!