The Texas Envirothon is coming to Junction in 2017 as part of a national program that has been described as “North America’s largest and most academically challenging high school environmental competition.” This event involves competitions at state and national levels. To date, there have been 50,000 participants from 4,000 public and private high schools across North America.
The competition in Texas, during April 8-10, will be hosted by the Llano River Field Station (the Station) at Texas Tech University (TTU) in Junction. Texas students in grades 9 through 12 will be participating and the winning team will compete in the national competition during July 23-29 in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where scholarships and prizes will be awarded. In 2015, Texas placed third at the national competition.
The mission of the Texas Envirothon is to develop knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to contribute toward achieving a natural balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. The program is designed to assist students in meeting Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements. All Texas Envirothon objectives and materials are correlated with TEKS.
The Texas Envirothon has three goals. Goal 1 is to gain the knowledge and skills needed to apply the basic principles and practices of natural resources management and ecology. Goal 2 seeks to provide students with experiences in natural resource oriented activities to make them more environmentally aware and action oriented. Goal 3 is to promote the stewardship of natural resources by developing critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills.
Dr. Tom Arsuffi, the Station’s Director, expressed his delight that the Station and Junction were selected as the site for this year’s Texas Envirothon. He said the existence of the Station and the Outdoor School at TTU in Junction, as well as Junction’s central location and natural resources attractions, were instrumental in the selection. Arsuffi also pointed out that this is one of many TTU’s activities in Junction that have economic benefits for the community.
He advised further that core subjects to be addressed during this year’s Texas Envirothon are aquatics, wildlife, forestry, and soils and land use. A current environmental issue that will be addressed specifically is “Agriculture: Soil and Water Conservation”. There is a $150.00 registration fee for each high school that participates.
The number of schools that may participate in the Texas Envirothon is 25, which is the average number of participants over the years. The Principal of Junction High School, Dana Davis, advises that the school will be participating and students are excited about being part of this year’s event.