Wind Dance team wins fifth at West Virginia Envirothon at Cacapon

Ravenswood FFA won first place in the West Virginia Envirothon at Cacapon Resort State Park last Friday, April 21.

Morgan County’s team, the Eco Defenders of Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center, won fifth place in the statewide competition, earning a $1,500 scholarship.

A total of 32 teams came from around West Virginia to compete in the two-day event at Cacapon State Park.

Teams participated from Braxton, Clay, Doddridge, Hampshire, Hardy, Jackson, Jefferson, Marion, Mineral, Monroe, Morgan, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Roane, Tyler, Upshur, Webster, Wetzel, Wood and Wyoming counties. In all, 30 teams and two alternate teams participated.

Five-member teams who participate in the Envirothon explore current environmental and earth sciences within the framework of five disciplines: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current environmental topic known as the “fifth topic.”

Teams also won $500 for scoring highest in each of the five “stations.” Ravenswood FFA scored highest in both the aquatics and fifth topic. Clay FFA Blue won the forestry station, Mineral County FFA scored highest in soils, and Eco Defenders had the highest score at the wildlife station.

This year’s fifth topic scenario was “Adapting to a Changing Climate.” Students developed a proposal for an agricultural, forestry, natural resource or outdoor recreation business or nonprofit. The teams incorporated practices and strategies in their organizational design meant to increase climate resilience and reduce their climate impact.

Students also were tested on their skills, problem-solving abilities and knowledge about natural resources, conservation and the environment.

The Clay FFA Blue team took second place, and will share a $4,000 scholarship, Moorefield High School Gold came in third place ($3,000), Mineral FFA was fourth ($2,000) and Eco Defenders from Morgan County came in fifth place, and earned a $1,500 scholarship.

Sponsors for the West Virginia Envirothon include the Weyerhaeuser Foundation, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Gas Transmission and Storage, the West Virginia Conservation Agency, the Elk Conservation District, the Northern Panhandle Conservation District, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the EQT Foundation, the Oakland Foundation, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the West Virginia Department of Education.

Numerous volunteers make up the West Virginia Envirothon Committee, which includes representatives from the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts, the West Virginia Division of Forestry, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the West Virginia Conservation Agency, USDA-NRCS and several of the state’s 14 conservation districts.

Wind Dance Farm’s team was coached by Leslie Devine-Milbourne and Volunteer Educator Tim Smith.

The Eco Defenders presentation included a design, “No Food Left Behind”! The design’s goal is to gather community food waste for composting.

Morgan County’s Eco Defenders won fifth in the West Virginia Envirothon.
Pictured, from left, are Environmental educator Leslie Devine-Milbourne, Emelyn Ramer, Mikayla Elmes, Amelia Ramer, Liam Glenn, Marijan Crnkovic, and volunteer educator, Tim Smith.
submitted photo