The North Carolina Envirothon is an environmental science-based competition that has taken place for the past 26 years. Middle schools and high schools from across the state first participate in a regional competition with the top five scoring teams from each region moving on to the state event.
Teams consist of five members and each member is in charge of being an expert in one of the five categories. The categories consist of aquatic ecology, wildlife, soil/land use, forestry and current environmental issues. Senior and former AP Environmental student Henry Haggart covered the aquatics section of the competition for his team this year.
“I typically do aquatics. That basically specifies aquatic ecosystems ranging from the different macro invertebrates found in water to the different types of plant and water pollution,” Haggart said.
The regional competition is an all-day event including guest speakers. In the morning, team members get an opportunity to work with experts and professionals from each of the five categories. After a morning of learning about the different categories, teams take a test as a group. It is important for each member to be well-educated on their category.
The Roberson envirothon teams have competed at the regional competition for the past five years and have qualified for the state competition several times. Due to scheduling conflicts with team members in the past, the team competed in the state competition for the first time in 2016. This year, three teams competed in the regional competition on March 31, but one of the three teams qualified for state.
According to senior Maddy Krueger, members of the team put much time and hard work into preparing for the competition. Each member is encouraged to study their category on their own. Approximately a week before regionals, teams come together to prepare as a group by taking released practice tests to evaluate their skills.
For Krueger, she tends to worry about how much work everyone has actually put in.
Participants of the club typically take AP Environmental before joining the Envirothon Club, but it is not required to join. Advisor and science teacher Kevin Keen believes even if students have not taken AP Environmental, they can certainly still compete with the knowledge from other science classes.
“I think we have a really good earth science program, so most of our students come through that and biology. A lot of the topics have something to do with AP Environmental, so not all people on the team have had [that class],” Keen said.
Krueger believes the club is a great opportunity for students and recommends it to anyone interested in environmental science.
“I would recommend others to join the envirothon team because it’s a great chance to go out of our regular school environment and learn more hands on about the environment,” Krueger said.