SMETHPORT (EC) — The Bradford Bees from Bradford Area High School won three individual stations on their way to claiming the overall title of the 29th annual “Wild” Envirothon held Thursday at the Keating Sportsmen's Club near Smethport.
Team members were Ethan Hollamby, Clare Mulcahy, Tyler Thompson, Austin Jadlowiec and Nicholas Haner. Jan Russell and Rich Bierbower were faculty advisors.
This year's event drew teams from six high schools in Cameron and McKean counties, challenging ninth through 12th graders on their knowledge of the natural world. Each sending multiple teams were Cameron County High School, Bradford Area High School, Kane Area High School, Otto-Eldred High School, Port Allegany High School and Smethport Area High School.
During this hands-on competition, students may be asked to measure a tree, identify aquatic organisms from a stream or feel handfuls of earth to identify the soil. The five-member teams worked together to answer questions and use their critical thinking to find solutions to reality-based situations, such as how to balance the use and protection of natural resources.
McKean County’s second place team was the Duke Center Ducks consisting of Ethan Flexman, Caden Kriner, Derek Creed, Kyle Kontz and Michaela Dewyer. Third place from McKean County went to the Photosynthesizers from Smethport High School with Darion Gregory, Patty Todd, Molly Todd, Jordan Pavlock and Kyler Alexis.
Cameron County’s first place team was The Coal Skinks with Cassie Frey, Dino Brown, Justin Bush and Dalton Ball. Second place from Cameron was the Feisty Ferrets consisting of members Tess Dubler, Shannon Crisp, Kira Aikens and Ariel Farren.
Five stations included Forestry, manned by Eric Monger and Mike, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and Kimberly Bohn, Penn State Extension; Wildlife, manned by wildlife conservation officers Jeffery Orwig, Wayne Hunt and Skyler Gibble from the Pennsylvania Game Commission; Soil and Land Use, manned by Ashlynn Beaker-Dunn, USDA Natural Resources & Conservation Service, Conservation District; Aquatics, manned by Todd Deluccia, Cameron County Conservation District, Jared Dickerson, Potter County Conservation District, and Adam Causer, McKean County Conservation District; and the Current Event (Benefits of Grassland & Pastureland Management), manned by Sherry Dumire and Lindsay Shine of the McKean County Conservation District.
High Scoring Station Teams were, in the Wildlife station, The Bradford Bees; Forestry, The Bradford Bees; Soils & Land Use, the Pine Ears from Port Allegany — Jacob Kallenborn, Autumn Freer, Caroline Wise, David Talkington and Frances Kujawski; Aquatic Resources; Duke Center Ducks; and Current Issue, The Bradford Bees.
During scoring, Ken Kane of Generations Forestry Inc. led a program about conservation careers, assisted by local professionals in the field and who were participants in past envirothons. In the morning, a special award was presented to Kerry Fetter for his longtime dedication to conservation education, the "Wild" Envirothon and support for the McKean County Conservation District.
Both top placing teams from each of the two counties, the Bradford Bees and the Coal Skinks, will go on to represent their school at the State Envirothon to be held May 22-23 at the Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. There is also a North American Envirothon event held in July for state and provincial winners to be held in this year in Idaho.
The event was sponsored by the McKean and Cameron County Conservation Districts, International Waxes, Seneca Resources, Danzer Lumber, Shell, Generations Forestry, Upper Allegheny Watershed Association, Kessel Construction, National Fuel, Eldred Conservation Club, Zook Motors Inc., Lafayette Township, The Kiwanis Club of Bradford, Team Minard Screen Printing and Embroidery, Fraternal Order of Eagle Bradford, The Port Freeze, Kane Shop and Save, Seneca Trout Unlimited, Carlson’s store, J. Ream Engineering, Emporium VFW Auxiliary Post 6221, Emporium Moose Lodge 368, North Point Contracting, May Hollow Sportsman’s Club, Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Association and Burleson's True Value.
Support was also provided by the Keating Sportsmen's Club and Smethport Fire Department.