The Envirothon competition is an annual undertaking at UTS. From September to June, it’s a challenging extracurricular – and if preparation is needed for the international competition in the summer, even beyond that. In any case, “we certainly go to the end of the school year prepping for next year and doing general enviro-activities for students at the different levels of experience,” says staff supervisor, teacher Liz Straszynski.
She goes on: “This year I've been incorporating related topics that will help us do well in the oral presentations. For example: how to best communicate with farmers and the general public in rural/agricultural communities, and best practices in public awareness campaigns.”
Anticipating the international round, which will be held in Maryland in the summer, “we even started the year with a session on the challenges and rehabilitation of Chesapeake Bay.” With Chesapeake being such an iconic environmental case study, Liz wanted to broaden the UTS students' horizons “with a marine ecosystem twist”.
The special topic at this year’s competition is sustainable agriculture – and the work load is formidable. Subject manuals are usually in the 40 to 50-page range and “there are always new resources all over the place” to look at, says Liz.
UTS took top honours in the 2016 international leg last year, which was held on home turf at Trent University in Peterborough, ON. In the GTA competition last week, a field of 10 teams had had a busy day of written, hands on, and oral presentation activities. The outcome: UTS teams finished first and second – so stay tuned for more Envirothon news in the future!
For an overview of the program, watch the video on this page.
Further information is available here.
See also p.5 in the fall 2015 issue of The Root magazine.
Pictured: the 2016 International Envirothon held at Trent University, Ontario. (Courtesy Envirothon).