The Texas Envirothon team, the Academy of Science and Technology Team Arctic Wolves in Clear Lake, took third place at the 2015 NCF-Envirothon in Springfield, Mo. From left are team members Colton Nettleton, Eleanor Shaul, Andie Tong, Horatia Fang and Micheal Bohnet. (Courtesy of Missouri DNR/Van Beydler) 

Aug. 14, 2015

HOUSTON – The Texas  Envirothon team, from The Academy of Science and Technology in Clear Lake, won Third Place overall in the 2015 NCF-Envirothon competition in Springfield, Mo.

NCF-Envirothon, North America’s largest high school environmental education competition, tests teams on their knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and a current issue (2015 Urban/Community Forests).

This year, the Texas team also took the top award in Forestry. The top winning teams were announced on Aug. 1, during the award ceremonies at Missouri State University. Fifty-two teams from the United States and Canada participated in the event.

For the past 13 years, Texas has participated in the North American environmental competition. Previously, only John Cooper High School from the Woodlands has placed third and fourth at the top level. 

“We are so proud of our students. Not only were they strong competitors, they were great ambassadors of Texas,” said Wendy Reistle, program coordinator of the Texas Envirothon. “I was impressed by the way they handled the tough competition,” Reistle said.

Representing Texas at the week-long competition were Michael Bohnet, Horatia Fang, Colton Nettleton, Eleanor Shaul and Andie Tong. Fang took fourth in Soil/Land Use. Shaul took third in Aquatic Ecology, Bohnet boosted the team to third in Wildlife and Tong led the Arctic Wolves to second in Current Issue. Nettleton capped the team’s impressive showing with a first place finish in Forestry. Each team member received a cash prize of $1000 sponsored by Smithfield Foods. Linda Costanzo and Larry Walker served as team advisors.

“Envirothon helped me gain a greater understanding of the environment surrounding me, but it also cultivated teamwork and leadership skills that will continue to benefit me in the future,” Fang said.

“Seeing all these other teens who love trees and the outdoors as much as I do gives me confidence in our generation,” Nettleton said.

Each team's knowledge is tested under the supervision of foresters, soil scientists, wildlife specialists and other natural resource professionals. Teamwork, problem-solving and presentation skills are evaluated as each team offers a panel of judges an oral presentation with recommendations for solving the specific challenge that is presented during the competition.

“Our students built strong cohesive teams, each responsible to the others and all focused on a common goal,” Walker said.

Financial support for the Texas Envirothon and team was provided by Eastman, LyondellBasell, Environmental Institute of Houston, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority, the Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation, NCF-Envirothon, Texas Association of Environmental Professionals, Texas Forestry Association and U.S. Forest Service. Other contributors were San Antonio Water System, Texas Association for Environmental Education, Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Harris County Soil & Water Conservation District and Montgomery County Soil & Water Conservation District.

Posted with permission from the Texas Envirothon program housed at the Environmental Institute of Houston at the UHCL campus.


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