ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A team of five students from Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County won the 2022 Maryland Envirothon. Now in its 31st year, the annual environmental competition was held at the University of Maryland’s Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Ellicott City on June 22, 2022. Teams from 13 counties across the state competed in the event.
The winning team members include Lynna Deng, Connor Palansky, Josh Goozman, Katie Yang, and Sienna Burns and team advisor Lissa Vincent. The students will go on to represent Maryland at the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Envirothon scheduled for July 24-30, at Miami University in Ohio. More than 40 teams from the United States and Canada are expected to compete in the national competition.
“It’s great to see the enthusiasm and interest these students show in understanding and protecting Maryland’s natural resources,” said MDA Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Congratulations to all the incredible students who participated in this year’s competition. Good luck to the Montgomery County students who will represent our state at the national competition later this summer.”
Held once a year, students taking part in the Maryland Envirothon study Maryland’s natural resources throughout the school year. Working in teams of five, students are trained and tested in four natural resource areas: soils, aquatics, forestry, and wildlife, plus an environmental issue that changes yearly. This year’s special environmental issue was Waste to Resources.
Each team’s knowledge is tested under the supervision of foresters, soil scientists, and wildlife specialists. Teamwork, problem-solving, and presentation skills are evaluated as each team presents a panel of judges with an oral presentation containing recommendations for solving an environmental challenge. The team with the highest cumulative total wins the competition and the opportunity to represent Maryland at the international competition.
At this year’s competition, the Montgomery County team scored 423 points out of a possible 500. They were followed by teams from Anne Arundel County (389 points) and Harford County (387 points). The full Maryland Envirothon results can be found here. Additional information can be found on the website.
Members of the top three teams were awarded wildlife prints and scholarships ranging from $200 to $500 from the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board Scholarship Program. The University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will provide matching scholarships to students on the winning teams that wish to attend their school. The Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientists provided $50 to each Frederick/Catoctin team member for placing first in the soils category. In other areas, the Montgomery County team earned awards for achieving the high score in Aquatics, Wildlife, and Waste to Resources. The Anne Arundel team achieved the high score in Forestry.
Established in 1990, the Maryland Envirothon’s objectives are twofold — to test students’ environmental knowledge and understanding of state resource issues and to instill a desire to learn more about the natural world. Winning teams compete at the local, state, and national levels. The first Envirothon competition was held in 1979 in Pennsylvania. Since then, more than 40 states, Canada, and China have embraced the program and sent teams to the competition.
The Maryland Envirothon is sponsored by the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the State Soil Conservation Committee. Contributors and supporters include Rural Maryland Council, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of the Environment, University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Garrett College-Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology Program, Maryland Soybean Board, Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientists, Southern Maryland Resource Conservation & Development Board, Inc., Maryland Delaware Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and University of Maryland Extension.
For quotes, questions, or additional information about the Maryland Envirothon, please contact Barry Burch, chairman of the Maryland Envirothon Committee, at email@example.com or (240) 215-5004. Photos from the event can be found on Flickr.
–Jessica Hackett, Maryland Department of Agriculture