A team of high school students from Tri-City College Prep (Prescott) developed a winning sustainable agriculture model to capture the 2017 Arizona Envirothon championship. The five members of the winning team and their coach will represent Arizona at the NCF Envirothon, competing for scholarships and prizes at Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsberg, M.D., near Chesapeake Bay, in July.
Twelve Arizona teams demonstrated their expertise in field science skills in aquatic ecology, water quality assessment, forestry and wildlife management, soil science and land use planning. This year’s theme – agricultural soil and water conservation stewardship – considered restoring a farming operation’s to productivity and economic viability, with special consideration for protecting soil and water quality and setting aside land to protect endangered species.
The five-student teams tested their environmental field skills at University of Arizona’s research farm, the Maricopa Agricultural Center in Maricopa, Ariz. on March 31 and April 1. Other schools competing were from Peoria (Centennial HS), Buckeye (Youngker HS), Phoenix (Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center), Goodyear (Trivium Prep), and Vail (Cienega HS).
The TriCity Prep team’s proposed scenario for rehabilitating a farm on the banks of the Hassayampa River, called the “Territorial Takedown”, included a plan to work closely with community colleges and the Audubon Society to assist with planning, crop rotation, integrated pest management, local marketing, neighbor relations and developing a 500-acre wildlife preserve to provide habitat for the lowland leopard frog and the yellow-billed cuckoo.
Tri-City Prep’s winning team includes Amanda Bertsch (team captain) , Brianna D’Angelo, Kimberly Zamora-Delgado, Kaleb Lyonnais, and Ethan Krafft. They are coached by Carolyn Muchna, who has fielded competitive Envirothon teams for eight years.
Prep team captain Bertsch, in her fourth year of Arizona Envirothon competition, said each team member selected a focus area for individual study and what they learned was shared in weekly lunch-hour meetings. The team members also relied on information provided by experts who visited the school in prior years.
Bertsch, a Flynn scholarship winner bound for MIT in the fall, said “It’s really easy in studying the environment to point to the users of resources as the villains but they are dealing with hard problems that are very expensive to solve and they are working hard and doing their best.” She noted that farmers are doing their best so they don’t have to choose between making a living and saving the planet.
Second place over-all went to Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center and Cienega High School placed third.
Tri-City College Prep’s 2017 Arizona Envirothon championship team:
(left-to-right) Rodney Beitz (chaparone), Carolyn Muchna (coach), Brianna D’Angelo,
Kaleb Lyonnais, Ethan Krafft, Kimberly Zamora-Delgado, and Amanda Bertsch (team captain).
Award winners for ecostation field testing skills
Soils and Land Use
First: AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center
Second: Tie between Centennial (Team 3) and Trivium Prep (Team 8)
Third: Tie between Trivium Prep (Team 7) and Tri-City Prep (Team 11)
First: Tri-City Prep (Team 11)
Second: Trivium Prep (Team 7)
Second: Tri-City Prep (Team 11)
Third: AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center
First: Tri-City Prep (Team 11)
Second: AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center
Spirit of Envirothon Awards:
Team: AZ Agribusiness & Equine Center
Committee: Gail Cordy
Carol Hopkins Service Award: Evelyn Erlandsen