North Carolina Team in Top 5 at 2022 Envirothon Nationals

Subchronic Exposure team members hold award plaque
From left: Subchronic Exposure team members Veronica Cheaz, Felicia Yan, Shriya Reddy, Pranvi Vashisht and Cynthia Wang.

High fives were flying all around as five NC Envirothon State Champions from Enloe High School clinched a Top 5 finish at the 2022 NCF-Envirothon. Subchronic Exposure competed at North America’s largest environmental education competition July 24-30 at Miami University in Oxford, OH, taking home a $2,000 NCF-Envirothon scholarship and engraved plaque.

The five Enloe High School students, Cynthia Wang, Felicia Yan, Pranvi Vashisht, Shriya Reddy and Veronica Cheaz, competed with 40 of the best high school teams from 36 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. They achieved high scores on five written exams that cover Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils and Land Use, Wildlife, and Current Environmental Issues.

In addition, the team was required to showcase their teamwork, problem solving and public speaking skills before a panel of judges. They presented a 20-minute oral presentation containing recommendations for solving an environmental problem related to the annual theme of “Waste-to-Resources.” This year’s challenge was to plan a new road for a municipal landfill by effectively incorporating best management practices that reduce environmental impacts, protect public health, safeguard American Indian mounds, address endangered bats and invasive species while keeping the landfill a viable, efficient operation within budget.

The team’s Envirothon journey began in the fall of 2021 as the start of the new school year. Enloe High School wasted no time in preparing for the Area IV Envirothon in March 2022 with 10 neighboring counties. Studying after school and on weekends paid off as they captured first place, earning the privilege to advance to the 2022 NC Envirothon in April, and earning first place again to advance to nationals as state champions.

To prepare for nationals, the Wake District reached out to resource professionals to share their expertise with the state champion team through study sessions, field trips, and practice tests. State experts included NCDA&CS Forest Service, NCDA&CS Division of Soil and Water Conservation, NCDEQ Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, NCDEQ Division of Solid Waste Management, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, as well as the NC Envirothon State Committee.

Other statewide and regional experts included City of Raleigh Neuse River Recovery Facility, NC Farm Bureau, NCSU Lake Wheeler Field Lab, and Town of Chapel Hill-Stormwater Management.

Wake County experts included Wake Soil and Water Conservation District, Wake County Solid Waste Management, and We Are Wake Toastmasters.

Wake County Public School System’s Enloe High School is the only North Carolina high school that has represented the state at nationals five times, placing in the Top 3 three times, the Top 6 in 2006, and the Top 5 this summer.

Through the NCF-Envirothon program, over 25,000 high school students across the United States, Canada and China advance their environmental literacy by learning to offer solutions to this critical question: How do we balance quality of life and the quality of the environment? The NCF-Envirothon is sponsored by the National Conservation Foundation that works to develop the next generation of conservation leaders.

Each year over 3,000 students, 250 teachers and 300 schools participate in the North Carolina Envirothon, “the natural challenge.” Teams begin their Envirothon journey in their home county by registering with their local soil and water conservation district. State Sponsors of the North Carolina Envirothon and state champion team include the NC Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, NCDA&CS Division of Soil & Water Conservation, and the NC Envirothon State Committee.

Wake County middle schools and high schools are invited to form teams and register for the 2023 Envirothon by contacting the Wake Soil and Water Conservation District at 919-410-2676 or sbjones@wakegov.com.

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