Students Compete And Learn About Environment

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ELK MOUNTAIN -- Teams of students from all six high schools in Susquehanna County competed in an Olympics of sorts Wednesday, testing their knowledge of the world around them.

It's called Envirothon, part of a statewide competition with several challenges involving nature.

The competition took place at Elk Mountain ski area.

Most of the students never looked at a tree before and thought "how many boards of lumber can I get out of that?"

"If you only get 136 boards out of all this, that's not much."

"It is 17.  We were right, yeah, we were right!"

At the Susquehanna County Envirothon, they had to measure the trees and do the calculations.  And that was just one stop in a series of challenges for 28 teams.

They had to examine and identify live fish and other aquatic creatures. Each team also had to figure out types of soils found in the state. This was teaching and testing each team's knowledge of the environment.

"It's not easy, the stuff they're giving us.  There are skulls, furs, owls, a lot of replicas of different animals," said Sal Pelicci of Susquehanna Community High School.

Similar events are playing out all over the state.  The winners will go on to a statewide competition.

It's not only teaching the kids about the environment, but also teamwork.

"You get to learn new stuff each time.  And it's a lot of fun with friends and stuff.  I like learning about new stuff, i Like stuff like this," said Jake Hinkley from Blue Ridge High School.

In a place like Susquehanna County, kids are used to being outdoors, but the event is to get the students to actually think about the outdoors and start to think about what's actually going on in nature around them.

"It's great. It's an inspiration to everyone who works in this field throughout the year. It keeps us going to see these young minds working on this stuff. It's very inspirational," said Jim Garner of the Susquehanna County Conservation District.

A goal is for the students to realize their impact on the environment and it seemed to work.

"I know personally I am in love with the environment and my groupmates are too, so it's fun. It just makes it all come together," said Rachel Serfilippi from Susquehanna Community High School.

The statewide Envirothon competition will be May 21 and 22 at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania.

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