Can you identify an invasive species like multiflora rose, determine what type of soil you have in your backyard or explain what species would be most common in a wetland? Five fifth formers (Marina Argires, Ellen Eberhardt, Joey Monzo, Alec Swartz, and Anna Tamaki) answered these questions and more as they represented The Hill School at the 2012 Montgomery County Envirothon on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. These five honor's environmental science students were accompanied by their teacher, High Meadows Foundations Chair for Sustainability Marie Fechik-Kirk. This was The Hill’s first trip to the Envirothon, a statewide competition which began in 1979.
During the Envirothon, teams of five high school students compete in field testing using their knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and environmental issues. Students also were exposed to scientists and experts in the fields of environmental science and ecology who coached and guided their learning experience. For instance, students discussed the prevalence of conservation tilling methods in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania compared to Costa Rica and chatted with members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission about the array of mammals in Pennsylvania.
Overall the team was pleased by their second place finish in the soils and land use category and placed fifth overall out of eleven schools. Alec Swartz ‘13 noted that “we really pulled together to make an extremely enjoyable first trip to the Envirothon.”
The students really enjoyed being outside for hand-on learning. Anna Tamaki ’13 remarked,“it was a lot of fun to get out of the classroom and to really apply our learning.”
Marina Argires ’13 said she'd never done anything like the Envirothon and "hopes that The Hill continues to compete each year.”