State Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today congratulated the student winners of the 31st annual New York State Envirothon Competition, which was held virtually on May 28. Ulster County’s Mount Academy team was named New York State Champion at the long-standing environmental science competition, which challenges students on their knowledge of natural resource sciences, public speaking, and civic engagement. Additionally, student teams from New York City schools, Stuyvesant High School from New York County and Staten Island Technical High School in Richmond County, were awarded second and third place respectively, an exciting achievement for agricultural education in urban settings.
Commissioner Ball said, “Congratulations to the Mount Academy, Stuyvesant, and Staten Island Technical students on their successes in the 2020 Envirothon competition. Now, more than ever, it is inspiring to see young people who are passionate about New York’s environment and agriculture. I know that with the leadership skills these students have learned through the Envirothon, we will be in capable hands in years to come.”
The Envirothon is a series of field station tests in the areas of soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and emerging environmental issues. This year’s emerging issue focused on local solutions in water resources management. The competition was designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of natural resource issues within New York State and cultivate students’ desire to learn more about our natural resources and environmental issues. This year, seventeen teams competed from across New York State.
The 2020 Envirothon, for the first time ever, awarded two teams from high schools in the New York City area with second and third place respectively. Urban agriculture continues to grow in importance across New York, focusing on building greener, healthier cities through community gardens, school gardens, and educational farms. These programs are centers of learning where young people can discover the natural world and find out where food comes from. The success of these teams in the Envirothon competition points to continued growth in urban agriculture.
Additionally, the competition was held virtually for the first time in its history, due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Envirothon Committee, largely made up of Soil and Water Conservation District staff, worked hard to ensure the competition could be held even during this challenging time. This year’s competition was made possible through the contributions of several sponsors and partnering agencies, including the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The Department’s Division of Land and Water Resources works to protect New York's land and water resources through farmland protection, farmland conservation and proactive environmental stewardship.
Additional sponsors of this year’s event included the NY Conservation District Employees' Association, NY Association of Conservation Districts, NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee, FAGE USA Dairy Industry, Inc., Cattaraugus County Trappers Association, New York Central Mutual Inc., Norton's Gas, Inc., Seward Sand and Gravel Inc., Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts from Steuben, Erie, Tompkins, Hamilton, Niagara, and Montgomery counties.
Dale Stein, Chairman of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee said, “With almost every good event for our young people being cancelled due to COVID-19, it is wonderful to see that the Envirothon could still take place to showcase future environmental leaders’ knowledge. I congratulate this year’s winners and thank all those that participated. We need young people to help preserve and protect the environment for all our futures.”
Chastity Miller, President of the New York State Conservation Districts Employee Association said, “During these trying times it is amazing that the Committee was able to host an event that allowed students to still experience the Envirothon. Encouraging students in the field of environmental sciences and natural resources helps to secure our future and foster an appreciation and responsibility to enhance and protect our world.”
About the New York State Envirothon
The New York State Envirothon is coordinated by the New York State Envirothon Committee consisting of members of the NYS Conservation District Employees Association, NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. The program services hundreds of high school students throughout New York State and the five city boroughs. Winning teams from regional and county Envirothon competitions advance to the state level and then to the national level Envirothon, earning awards and scholarships at each level.
The program is funded from contributions and grants from individuals, businesses, and organizations. Contributions are tax deductible through the NYS Environmental Education Foundation and 100% of all contributions go towards the program. Additional information about the program and sponsorship opportunities can be found at www.nysenvirothon.org.