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Envirothon at HHS

Apr 26, 2018


Naming the three species of pine tree native to Minnesota and the criteria used to determine wetlands is routine knowledge for members of the club Envirothon.

Envirothon was started at Hopkins during the 2007-2008 school year by John Sammler, science. There is a high school and junior high level (which was created two years ago), and this year three teams from each level will compete in the annual competition.

“I didn’t know Envirothon existed until I took AP Environmental Science and Mr. Sammler told us to join it. A lot of the material we learn between the competition and the class overlaps,” said Maddie Holicky, senior, who will be competing for the first time this spring.

The club meets on Wednesdays all school year long.

“In the beginning of the year, we do a lot of walks outside to teach members how to identify trees. In the winter, we do a lot of learning about how to identify different wildlife in the state.  We try to make it fun with a Kahoot or other trivia games. Come spring, we get the details for the oral presentation, so we spend a lot of time preparing a thoughtful and detailed one,” Sammler said.

The club also went on a weekend camping trip this year to visit state parks and view different habitats.

On Monday, April 30th the regional competition, composed of anywhere between 10-20 teams from the metro area, will be held outdoors at the MN Landscape Arboretum. At the senior level, only the top three teams will advance to state.

“We have three high school teams, two made up on seniors, and one 9th grade. I expect us to do pretty well because we have been preparing all year for it. We have gone through countless flashcards and quizlets,” Holicky said.

The teams answer questions from categories including aquatics, forestry, wildlife, soil, and a current event, which is grazing this year.

Teams of five work together to take a knowledge quiz in each of the categories. Senior competitors also give a ten minute oral presentation on a solution to a real, and current problem.

“This year, the problem is trying to improve the grazing operation of a Minnesota farmer by helping them make more money and graze more cattle while likewise improving the soil and water quality of the surrounding land,” Sammler said.

Holicky and her group have constructed a nine minute script and model.

If you win state, you go to the national competition held in Idaho this year. Hopkins has won state twice, in 2015 and 2017. A win at nationals would mean $15,000 to split among the group of five.

“The national competition is a lot of work but also a lot of fun and you get to travel to a different part of the country and see and learn a lot about it,” Sammler said.

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