St. Mary’s Ryken High School’s Envirothon team recently competed in the 2023 St. Mary’s County Envirothon, an annual environmental competition for high school students from around the country, Canada, and China. The team impressed judges with their in-depth understanding of natural resources and their innovative solutions to protect them, earning them a top spot in the Forestry competition and a mention from the club moderator, Mr. Jonathan Smith.
Nine teams from four county high schools competed in this year’s event, with some schools boasting as many as four teams and SMR only having one during this first year competing since 2021. Each team comprises five members, each specializing in a specific category. The tests were four to six pages of mostly multiple-choice and some free-response questions, each lasting 45 minutes.
Freshman Louise Savvas, ‘26, led the Forestry category and, with the help of her teammates, SMR secured the highest score among the Forestry tests. Each member received a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card as a reward.
“The team’s success not only highlights the importance of education in natural resources but also emphasizes the critical role that young people play in preserving the planet’s precious ecosystems for future generations,” said Mr. Smith.
Junior Dakota Bierbaum, ‘24, led the Soils team. Aquatics by junior Taylor Mills, ‘24, Wildlife by senior Sabrina Vignola, ‘23, and the fifth issue, Climate Change this year, was led by senior Sarah Fore, ‘23.
“I can attribute my plans for working in an environmental field to my participation in Envirothon,” said Sabrina Vignola, who will be attending West Virginia University to major in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources. “The competition was like a trailer for what I may do for work after college, possibly as a park ranger.”
Louis Savvas said, “It was a really fun experience and I learned a lot! I really want to thank Sabrina for mentoring me through the process and I hope to participate again next year!”
Overall, two teams from Chopticon High School took home the third and second-place awards, and one team from Great Mills High School took home the coveted St. Mary’s County Envirothon trophy.
The competition tested the student’s knowledge and skills and highlighted the importance of environmental education and young people’s role in preserving the planet’s ecosystems for future generations. Congratulations to all the teams!