Maryland Teens Gear Up for First Round of Envirothon Competitions

ANNAPOLIS (March 23, 2008) - Across Maryland, teenagers are grabbing their binoculars, pulling on their waterproof boots, and consulting their field guides as they prepare to participate in the first round of competitions leading up to the 2008 Canon Envirothon, North America's largest and most prestigious natural resources event for high school students.

Students participating in the Envirothon have been studying the state's natural resources all year. The learning experience and competition take place in a variety of outdoor and indoor settings. During their training, the teenagers identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys, estimate wood yield from trees, and solve other complex natural resource issues. They receive hands-on instruction from natural resource professionals including foresters, soil scientists, wildlife specialists and environmental engineers from local, state and federal agencies as well as private environmental organizations.

"Envirothon gets young people out of the classroom, away from the computer screen and into the outdoors to experience natural resources in a way that simply can't be learned from a book," said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Roger L. Richardson. "The future of agriculture and conservation of our natural resources depend on the hard work, dedication and understanding of these extraordinarily talented youth."

Teams compete by applying their knowledge and problem-solving skills in these areas. The county team with the highest cumulative total wins the local competition and advances to the Maryland Envirothon scheduled for June 17-19 at the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center in Harford County. The winner of the Maryland Envirothon earns the right to represent the state at the 2008 Canon Envirothon. More than 300 of the brightest teenagers from across the United States and Canada will participate in this rigorous competition slated for later this summer in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Dates and locations for local competitions include:

Anne Arundel County Envirothon Competition
Date: Thursday, April 24
Place: Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center
Contact: John Czajkowski, Anne Arundel Soil Conservation District, (410) 571-6757

Calvert County Envirothon Competition
Date: Thursday, April 3
Place: King's Landing Park
Contact: Linda Subda, Calvert County Schools, 410-535-2960

Charles County Envirothon Competition
Date: Wednesday, April 16
Place: Gilbert Run Park
Contact: Luis Dieguez, Charles Soil Conservation District, 301-934-9588, ext. 3

Prince George's County Envirothon Competition
Date: Monday, April 14
Place: William S. Schmidt Center
Contact: Debbie Sandlin, Prince George's Soil Conservation District, 301-574-5162, ext. 3

St. Mary's County Envirothon Competition
Date: Tuesday, April 29
Place: Malcom Morris Farm
Contact: Haley Carter, St. Mary's Soil Conservation District, 301-475-8402, ext. 3

Envirothon is sponsored by Maryland's soil conservation districts and the State Soil Conservation Committee.

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