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Major envirothon competition looms for Oxford High students

Miranda Grayzel-Ward, Online Editor

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For many students, summer is spent relaxing lazily by the beach or sleeping in till noon each day. But for five students, their summer will be spent traveling to Ontario, Canada, where they will compete at the 2016 North American Envirothon competition.

Envirothon is an environmental competition in which a team of five competes in categories such as soil/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues. Each member is assigned a specific category and completes a multiple-choice assessment, as well as an onsite evaluation in which members identify different species of animals, trees or other organisms.

The Oxford High team swept the state competition three weeks ago for the second consecutive year, tallying the highest score in four of the six categories, earning their ticket back to the North American competition.

“I am very proud of them,” their coach Angela Whaley said. “They have really grown as a team this year.”

With the North American event being less than two months away, the team is relentlessly preparing.

“We will be meeting throughout the summer with various regional trainers as well as having independent study groups,” Whaley said. “The North American competition is vastly different because we will be focusing on wildlife, soils, trees, and invasive species of Ontario, Canada.”

The team, which competed at this prestigious event last year, knows what it takes to perform well at the competition.

“Since we’ve all been to nationals before, we know the amount of work we need to put in,” OHS sophomore Joanna Bu said. “We’re going to have more study sessions and just rigorously review the materials. It’s mainly going to be just self-studying.”

The team is eager to perform this year. They hope to compete at an even higher level than they did last year and place in the top 20 out of more than 52 teams across North America.

“Since this is the seniors’ last year, we hope to at least place in the top 20 overall,” Bu said. “We’ve all competed at nationals before, so I think we’ll do fairly well and better than last year.”

Said senior team member Andrew Brown, “I think we’ll do very well considering our team is still relatively young. Hopefully, this will translate into experience for next year, too.”

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Major envirothon competition looms for Oxford High students