The Hull-York Lakeland Resource Conservation & Development Council (RC&D) recently held its 21st Annual Regional Envirothon at the Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion in Cookeville. A total of 22 teams from the council’s 14 Upper Cumberland counties participated in this year’s contest. The Envirothon is an Environmental Education contest for high school students where the students work together as a team. A team consists of three to five students and they compete in 5 topics covering Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, and this year’s current issue — Sustainable Rangeland Management.
The state coordinator for the Tennessee RC&D Envirothon, Kathy Daugherty, commented that “the Envirothon Contest is more than just learning about information in a textbook. It is about applying what you have learned!” In an outdoor setting, the students identify trees; evaluate soil landscapes and properties; identify animal tracks, pelts, and scat; and answer questions that are related to aquatics as well as soil and air quality. “Every section must be completed under an allotted time,” Daugherty added, “thus forcing the students to answer quickly and as a team.”
The Stone Memorial High School (SMHS) team placed 9th overall in the contest. Team members were FFA students Logan Adams, Josh Buck, Andy Carey, Chelsae Wattenbarger and Nathan Wattenbarger. Vocational Agriculture Teacher Courtney Halfacre served as coach for the team. Whitney Swafford was an alternate for the team.
Cumberland County High School (CCHS) also fielded a team in the contest. The team was coached by Vocational Agriculture Teacher Jason Atkinson and placed 21st in the contest. CCHS FFA team members were Shada Adkins, Julie Bryson, Emily Russell, Calynn Whittenburg and Bailey Wright.
Lynn Carey, office manager for the Cumberland County Soil Conservation District and president of Hull-York Lakeland RC&D Council, stated, “Cumberland County was very fortunate to have such an outstanding group of FFA students participating in the Envirothon contest and I was very proud of their efforts and behavior while representing our high schools. I also appreciate Mrs. Halfacre and Mr. Atkinson for their dedication to their students and willingness to coach the Envirothon teams.”
Special appreciation is extended to Flowers Snacks of Crossville for the donation of snack cakes that were used for desserts at the Envirothon Contest and to the Cumberland County Soil Conservation District for sponsoring all the teams.
The winners of this year’s competition were Putnam County 4-H in first place, York Institute Team #1 in second and York Institute Team #2 as the third place team. The top three winning teams received individual trophies along with a team trophy. Putnam County 4-H will represent Hull-York Lakeland RC&D in the State Envirothon, which will be held May 15 and 16, at the Clyde York 4-H Camp here in Crossville. The winners of the state contest will represent Tennessee in the Canon National Envirothon in August in Bozeman, Montana.
The Hull-York Lakeland RC&D Council works in partnership with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil Conservation Districts. Over 60 individuals from coaches, council members, USDA-NRCS staff, state of Tennessee personnel, and Soil Conservation District employees, to Earth Team Volunteers gave their time and effort to make this event a success. For more than 40 years the Hull-York Lakeland RC & D Council has worked in the upper Cumberland area of Middle Tennessee putting projects on the ground that help sustain rural communities, local economies, and natural resources.
All programs and services of the Cumberland County Soil Conservation District (SCD) are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or handicap.