APES teams dominate for second year

APES teams dominate for second year

Paula Ladd

Sophomores Claire Rauchfuss, Sara Tennant, Sarah Tanke, Claire Goffinet, and Robert Breininger of Team C pose with their award in the Aquatics division.

Andrew Lim, Staff Writer

After digging in marsh soil, measuring a 60-foot-plus tree and testing water quality, West Shore Team B earned the top score in the regional Envirothon competition in Savannas Preserve Park in Port St. Lucie on Friday. West Shore Team C earned the top score in the Aquatics division.

Envirothon is an outdoor competition that concentrates on natural resource conservation and environmental management. Students, work in teams of five to answer questions and conduct hands-on investigations in five study areas: aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife, and a current environmental issue. Three teams, totaling 15 students, represented the school against middle and high school teams from five counties.

“It was pretty cool because I don’t think I’ve ever brought three teams with me before,” AP Environmental Science teacher Paula Ladd said. “All the teams did well, and I’m proud of them. Hopefully, we’ll do even better next year.”

Two teams composed of past AP Environmental Science students returned to the competition after earning the top two scores in the county last year, and a third team composed of current students joined the competition. Past member, junior Nick Etrick of Team B, said he is grateful for the new team.

“I’m just glad that West Shore was able to win two awards and stole them from the other schools’ teams,” he said. “I can’t wait to do it next year because it was really fun and a great way to spend a Friday.”

Etrick said his team didn’t expect the win.

“It felt so shocking because it was so unexpected. I didn’t think we did well in some of the events,” he said.

Richie Bamlet of the Florida Forest Service has volunteered as a judge in the forestry division for the last three years. He said the Envirothon has the potential to be a life-changing event.

“It really gives kids a good taste for science and environmental studies,” he said. “A lot of students go on to study environment at university because of Envirothon and what they’ve experienced. It’s rewarding for us environmental professionals to give back”

West Shore Team B will continue on to the state competition at Hillsborough River State Park on April 27.

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on its websites.