Two Emery High science teams spent the weekend of April 16 competing in the Utah State Envirothon. The competition is a STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) competition held annually. The event is sponsored by the Utah Association of Conservation Districts; it is held outside and offers a stage for students to demonstrate scientific skills learned throughout the year. State and federal agencies are involved in teaching a short lesson followed by a skills test where students demonstrate knowledge of subject matter and proficiency in collecting data and forming conclusions based on data.
Agencies involved in this year’s competition included the National Park Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, the City of St. George, Hogle Zoo, the Division of Wildlife Resources, the United States Forest Service and others. In preparation for the competition, Wade Paskett, local wildlife biologist with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, volunteered at the school teaching students about management practices. Dr. Sharmon Gilbert from Emery Animal Health also spent an evening preparing the students for the competition with research on feral versus domestic cats.
Schools from all over the state were at the event from all classifications including 4A, charter and private schools. The Emery Science Team placed fifth in the oral presentation while the Animal Science Team placed eighth in the soils portion of the competition. Lee Moss and Justin Thornley from the Emery Science Department coached the teams with any students who wished to participate.
Moss expressed an appreciation for the competition because it provides opportunities for students to explore careers in natural resources and land management. And with Emery surrounded by resources and federal lands, he said, “We need local students to take an active part in management.”
Moss also expressed appreciation to the Emery School District administration, which provided support in transportation and logistics for the event as well as the San Rafael Conservation District, which made a financial contribution for sponsorship.