For the fourth year in a row, a team of high school students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences (MATES) in Manahawkin, NJ, was the winner of the New Jersey Envirothon, held on May 4 at Girl Scout Camp Kettle Run in Medford, NJ. Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) is among the sponsors of the environmental competition.
The winning team, consisting of Emily Golembiski of Little Egg Harbor, Jillian Hubbard of Toms River, Gillian Schriever of West Creek, Michael Signorelli of Toms River and Megan Tumpey of Brick, will represent New Jersey in the 2013 North American Envirothon at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, in August.
The Ocean County students competed against 33 other teams on knowledge of natural resources-related topics, including soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology and a current environmental issue. This year’s theme was “Sustainable Rangeland Management: Achieving a Balance Between Traditional Agricultural Uses with Non-Agricultural Uses on Montana Rangelands.”
“For 20 years, New Jersey high school students have had the opportunity to participate in this valuable competition and learn more about the environment, natural resources and science,” said Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher. “We hope they take advantage of the skills they learned and consider careers in agriculture and natural resources-related fields.”
Each of the MATES team members received $1,000 scholarships from the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts, $2,000 scholarships from Richard Stockton State College and $1,000 scholarships from Applied and Health Sciences at Kean University.
Two 5-member teams of MATES students competed in last year’s Envirothon with all but one of those students graduating. The two MATES teams placed first and second in 2012. An almost entirely new set of 10 students made up this year’s two teams.
“I am very proud of the hard work and dedication put forth by our members,” said MATES advisor Adam Sprague. “It was quite an accomplishment considering it was the first year competing for nine out of the 10 team members. We now turn our attention to Montana which offers an exciting variety of challenges in terms of preparation for our students.”
The second-place team in this year’s Envirothon was West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and third place was taken by High Tech High School, North Bergen.
In addition to RCE, Envirothon is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, State Soil Conservation Committee; New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts; the 15 Soil Conservation Districts; United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The 15 Soil Conservation Districts in New Jersey follow county boundaries and implement the New Jersey Soil and Sediment Control Act, which governs certain aspects of new development. These semi-autonomous bodies are locally governed and play a strong role in the protection of New Jersey’s natural resources.
Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture