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May 19, 2010

Students endure heat to protect groundwater at 2010 Envirothon

The 14th annual South Carolina Envirothon was held May 7 at the Clemson Institute for Economic and Community Development. Despite the warm temperatures, nearly 240 students, coaches, staff and volunteers descended upon the institute to face a day of rigorous academic and hands-on testing.

Students were tested on Aquatics, Forestry, Oral Presentation, the Protection of Groundwater through Urban, Agricultural and Environmental Planning, Soils and Wildlife. The oral presentation that the students must prepare before the competition demands a working knowledge of every station, and an ability to analyze the information, coordinate with their team a course of action, and illustrate a plan for implementation. The teams had to present a comprehensive water management plan for a large South Carolina county considering drought, population increases, ground and surface water protection, urban and agricultural needs, and storm water management.

The staff and volunteers that participated left the competition knowing that they had had a small impact on the future of this state. The Envirothon prepares these students for issues that are now, and will continue to challenge our leaders. All 23 teams from across the state left with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they gave it their best shot and that they now have a better grasp of the environmental issues. Some of the teams also walked away with college scholarships and station awards.

The Station Winners (those scoring the highest at that station) of the competition were: Aquatics, Forestry, and Oral Presentation – Spartanburg Team A (Spartanburg County), Groundwater Protection – Spartanburg Team B (Spartanburg County), Soils – Faith Christian School (Berkeley County), and Wildlife – Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg County).

The overall competition winners, whose high scores landed them in the top four were: Honorable Mention – Team Greenville (Greenville County), Third Place, each member receiving a $125 scholarship – Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg County), Second Place, with each member receiving a $250 scholarship – Spartanburg High School Team B, and First Place, each member receiving a $500 scholarship – Spartanburg High School Team A (Spartanburg County). Spartanburg Team A will also move on to compete at the Canon Envirothon competition that will host approximately 45 other US and Canadian Province teams in Fresno, Calif., from Aug. 1-7.

The scholarships and prizes at the state level were provided by the generous donations of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of the state, their State Association, the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Low Country RC&D Council, the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, the S.C. Association of Future Farmers of America, the Canon Envirothon Committee, and various personal donations made by the "Friends of Envirothon."

The Envirothon receives thousands of hours of in-kind services from its committee members, volunteers, station managers, graders, on-call EMT staff, photographers and so on. The event is a true model of partnership for a common cause: providing a challenging, but fun outdoor experience for high school students that will encourage them to be stewards of the land, not just with their hearts, but with their heads and with their hands. Invest in your future and become a sponsor of the S.C. Envirothon Program.

South Carolina's natural resources are essential for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Find out why Life's Better Outdoors.

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