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Clear Spring team wins county envirothon

April 05, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - For the ninth time in 14 years, a team of Clear Spring High School students has won the annual Washington County Envirothon, the team's coach said last week.

Coach Sue Lowery said Thursday she thinks Clear Spring often wins the competition because students at the school generally have more hands-on experience with the environment than students from other county schools.

Team members also said it helps to have Lowery as their coach. Lowery, who teaches agriculture and horticulture classes at the high school, has been a coach for all 14 years of the competition.

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Teams from four public schools - Clear Spring High, Boonsboro High, North Hagerstown High and Williamsport High - joined two home-schooled teams in competing at the March 29 event at the Fairview Outdoor Education Center. The event is sponsored by the Washington County Soil Conservation District.

The Clear Spring team's five members, all of them members of Future Farmers of America, are: Paul Golden, 17, 11th grade; Larry Hose, 16, 11th grade; Sondra Lavigne, 15, 10th grade; Rebecca Funk, 15, 10th grade; and Sara Wiles, 17, 12th grade.

The team motto is "Together we are invincible."

For the last two months, team members met after school three days a week to go over material that would be covered in the competition, Lowery said.

The Clear Spring team, The Trail Blazers, will represent the county at the state envirothon in June at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md. Students can win scholarship money and other prizes at the state level.

Clear Spring won at the county and state levels in 2002. It came in second place - bested by a home-schooled team - at the county level in 2003, Lowery said.

This year, Clear Spring won first place and the home-schooled team was second, Lowery said.

A team of Clear Spring students also came in third, Lowery said.

The teams competed for scores in tasks in five environmental topic areas: forestry, soils, wildlife, aquatics and natural resource management in the urban environment. The first four topics are the same each year, and the fifth changes each year, Lowery said.

As part of the contest, team members answer multiple-choice questions, use a compass, identify fish, examine soil and perform other tasks.

The first envirothon was held in Pennsylvania in 1979, according to a Maryland Department of Agriculture brochure. By 1988, the idea had caught on and the first national contest was held, the brochure said.

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