The 2012 Nebraska Envirothon State Championship team hails from West Holt High School located in Atkinson.
The competition, May 5 at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp near Halsey, featured student teams of five members each. The teams qualified in regional contests around the state. The winners of each region and the next seven overall highest scoring wild card teams had the opportunity to compete at the state competition.
The state competition is one stop on the road to the Canon Envirothon, which is a national program for ninth- through 12th grade students. The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts is the annual sponsor of the Nebraska Envirothon.
The five-member teams competed in seven areas of environmental studies: soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, range, policy and a current environmental issue pertaining to non-point source pollution and low impact development. Test questions included written answers, and required hands-on observations, measurements and calculations.
"The Envirothon is a great hands-on learning experience for high schools that serves to educate youth on the importance of protecting the future of our natural resources," says Joe Anderjaska, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts board president. "The Envirothon also serves as an introduction to students for potential careers in natural resources management."
West Holt's team will be invited to represent Nebraska at the Canon Envirothon. The team received a $1,000 scholarship offered and each team member on the winning team was awarded a $500 dollar scholarship by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to be used toward a major in UNL's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
Other sponsors for this year's Envirothon were: Nebraska Forest Service, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, Monsanto Water Utilization Learning Center, Platte River Recovery Implementation Program, Farm Credit Services of America, HDR Engineering, Inc., and Midwest Laboratories. This year the Canon Envirothon will be held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Penn., with more than 55 teams from across the United States and Canada expected to participate in the North American competition.
Members of the first place team from West Holt High School are Cole Gibbens, Dylan Liable, Marcus Marcellus, Abigael Olson, and Josh Coyle. Their coach/adviser is David Gibbens.
The State Runner-up team was from Aurora High School, and a team from Bellevue West High School finished in third place.
Eleven schools and 13 teams competed in the state contest. Schools participating were: Aurora, two teams from Bellevue West, Omaha Burke, Chase County, two teams from Concordia, Milford, Norris, Ord, Sidney, Saint Edward and West Holt.