HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — By teaching kids about the environment, they can learn how to save it.
That’s the idea behind a two-day competition in the Poconos.
There are environmental challenges for fifth and sixth graders: identifying animals based on their fur or their skulls, or being able to pick out a bird by the sound of its chirping.
Students from numerous schools worked their way through the outdoor world, competing in Envirothon at the Monroe County Conservation District.
“I think this place is so amazing. I love it here,” said Lauren Eisler from Tobyhanna Elementary Center.
“Then you learn more about the environment, and like, when you’re out in the woods and you hear a bird, you can say ‘That’s a chickadee’ and your dad or your mom will go, ‘What?!’” said Gary Russin from Clear Run Intermediate School.
A lot of families in the Poconos have roots elsewhere, so for many of these kids, there’s a lot to learn about the Pennsylvania outdoors.
“It’s really important, especially when you live out here,” said Lauren Eisler from Tobyhanna Elementary Center.
“When they get to know what’s around them and get to know the environment, they become educated about it and then are much more likely to take care of it, once they are familiar with it,” said organizer Brian Hardiman.
Part of Envirothon is teaching the students how their actions have an impact.
“Basically when we put chemicals and fertilizers in our grass that runs off into streams and ponds and algae blooms and it kills the fish,” said Russin.
“It helps because when I’m older I’ll know a lot so I can do something to make a difference,” said Gabriella Quinones from Clear Run Intermediate School.
While there are prizes at Envirothon, ,the most important thing is that the kids leave knowing a lot more about the nature around them and in the Poconos, there sure is a lot of it.