ALLEGANY - Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School Team 2 took first place in the 2012 Cattaraugus County Envirothon, held recently at Allegany State Park.
The school had two teams. Catt.-Little Valley's Team 1 placed second, and defending champion Hinsdale Central's Team 1 placed third. Randolph's Team 2 placed fourth, trailing the third-place team by one point. Ellicottville Central's Team 2 was also competitive, placing fifth two points behind the fourth-place team.
Led by adviser Anthony Shabloski, Cattaraugus-Little Valley will now advance to represent Cattaraugus County at the 2012 New York State Envirothon in Geneva on May 23-24.
From left are Brian Davis of the Cattaraugus Co. Soil & Water Conservation District; Joshua Pritchard, Gil Keenen, Patrick McGlew, Logan Martin, Chantel Abramowski and Ryan Hanft from the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School team that won the recent county Envirothon competition.
In all, 15 teams representing eight schools participated in this year's event, and 2012 was the 21st year that the Envirothon has been held in Cattaraugus County.
The other participating schools included Allegany-Limestone, Pioneer, Portville and West Valley. In all, more than 80 high school students competed in the program.
The envirothon is the largest conservation education program in North America, and begins at the local level with several schools from each county competing to advance to a statewide and ultimately a continent-wide event. The Cattaraugus County Envirothon is organized by the Cattaraugus County Soil & Water Conservation District.
The envirothon is an outdoor, hands-on event that emphasizes teamwork, with each participating school sending up to two five-member teams of high school students.
The teams compete to test their knowledge of various natural resource related topics, including wildlife, forestry, soils, aquatics, and a current issue topic, which this year was "Nonpoint Source Pollution - Low Impact Development."
The teams work together to complete exams at five different stations that address these subjects.
They may be required to identify various species of trees, wildlife and fish that are available on display and answer specific questions about habitat and other environmental issues related to the species. They may also test a water sample for pH or use a soil survey report to evaluate the soils on a given site.
An oral presentation on the current issues topic is rated as part of the score at the current issues station. Scores for the five exams are totaled and the team with the highest cumulative score wins the competition.
The Cattaraugus County Soil and Water Conservation District pulls together more than 30 volunteers including individuals, as well as representatives from various agencies, organizations, and companies who pitch in to help carry out the event.
Funding for the event is provided entirely from contributions received from many local businesses and organizations. Sallie Mae Foundation and Gernatt Asphalt were primary sponsors of the program in 2012.
"2012 was another great year for the Cattaraugus County Envirothon," said Brian Davis, conservation district feld manager and Envirothon coordinator. "The rain held off until the event was over, and the competition and teamwork among the students was some of the best we've ever seen. Our committee and our local sponsors all make the program the great success that it has become."