Preparation and experience key in Envirothon victory: Finlay

Cory Hurley
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Elwood High School has once again captured the annual Newfoundland and Labrador Envirothon.

The Deer Lake team, Fertile Minds, captured the overall 2014 title this past weekend at the Lion Max Simms Memorial Camp in Bishop’s Falls. It is the sixth time in seven years a team from Elwood has won the provincial title.

Alexis Locke, Emily Finlay, Molly Davis, Rachel Paddock and Kyle Hiscock are all first-time winners, but did compete in last year’s competition.

“We are all ready proud of the win,” Finlay said.

There were six school teams at the provincial, three-day competition featuring field tests and a prepared oral presentation centred on a problem scenario with respect to sustainable agriculture.

Experience proved to be a valuable tool, said Finlay, who also noted the hard work and preparation they put in was key.

“It was great, really fun,” she said of the competition. “It really gets you thinking about a lot of problems that you wouldn’t really think through or consider otherwise.”

Corner Brook Regional High and Exploits Valley High of Grand Falls-Windsor each had two teams, while Crescent Collegiate of South Dildo was the other school represented.

Elwood captured the overall title as well as individual category titles of Soils Field Test High Score, Aquatics Field Test High Score and Sustainable Agriculture. The other awards went to team Code Green of Crescent Collegiate for the Dr. Neal Simon Team Spirit Award, Corner Brook Regional High’s Envirotrons claimed the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) Green Award and the oral presentation high score was earned by team Natura of Corner Brook Regional High for Forestry Field Test High Score and Wildlife Field Test High Score.

The Elwood team spent Monday evenings leading into the competition practicing scenarios and learning about each of the topics, especially this year’s exclusive theme of sustainable agriculture. Locke said their friendship outside of the classroom and competition was also key in their win.

“We get along really good,” she said. “We think in similar ways, which really helps when we are doing the presentation.”

The international Envirothon was cancelled this year due to a restructuring at the North American level. The Atlantic provinces co-ordinators have rewarded the winners in their jurisdictions with a four-day trip to the Unesco Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve in Nova Scotia. There, they will do some whale watching, kayaking and tour organic farms.

“It was really unfortunate that the international competition this year was cancelled,” Locke said. “It was going to be in Georgia, so we were all really excited about possibly having the chance to go.

“It was really generous of them to come up with the trip to go on, so that is really great.”

The provincial event is hosted by the Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Organizations: Elwood High School, Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, North American Unesco Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Nova Scotia, Georgia Newfoundland and Labrador

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