The annual Manasota Regional Envirothon looked a bit different this year. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually to provide a safe environment for the students to compete. Although we missed seeing the students face to face in the outdoor, natural setting of Oscar Scherer State Park, we still had a very successful event, thanks to the cooperation of the students, teachers, and volunteers.
At this year’s event, 55 students representing 6 Manatee and Sarasota county high schools competed via the online platform of ZOOM and Google Forms. The Envirothon tests the students’ knowledge of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and this year’s current topic ‘Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions’.
Placing first for Manatee County was ‘The Manatees’ team from Manatee High School. In second was the ‘Palmetto High Team 1’ team from Palmetto High School, and coming in third was another Manatee High School team: ‘Photosynthesis’.
Representing Sarasota County, the ‘Tree Thuggers’ team from Sarasota High School placed first, with ‘The Renegades’ from Suncoast Polytechnical High School in second. Coming in third was the ‘Out-of-Door’ team from Out-of-Door Academy.
Venice High School also competed in the contest.
The teams ‘Renegades’ and ‘Tree Thuggers’ tied for the top score of 98% in the Soils category. ‘Groundbreakers’ and ‘The Manatees’ tied for the top score in the Aquatics category, both earning an 84%. The ‘Out-of-Door’ team scored highest in the Forestry category with a 72%. Finally, ‘Tree Thuggers’ earned the top score of 99% in the Wildlife category.
Sponsors & Volunteers
The Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District and the Sarasota Soil and Water Conservation District host the annual competition. The Manatee Fish and Game Association volunteered to reimburse teachers for lunch provided to the students. The Sarasota County Farm Bureau and the Mosaic Company sponsored the event t-shirts. Keep Manatee Beautiful and Keep Sarasota County Beautiful sponsored the awards. Many of the sponsors were able to join in on the ZOOM meetings and shared information about their organizations and any upcoming activities planned.
Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension, Florida Forest Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension and Sustainability also participated. Oscar Scherer State Park staff and volunteers were helpful during the initial planning of the contest and were understanding when the contest had to be moved to a virtual format due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
First place teams from each county are eligible to compete in the State Envirothon contest in late April, which will be held virtually. https://www.flenvirothon.com/
Top teams from each state will compete in the North American Envirothon during the summer in an online format. https://envirothon.org/