CHS Students Reconnect to Nature Through Envirothon


Left to Right: Will Coughlin, Damon Vaughan, Riley Strain, Oliver Simon, Dorian Jones, Sean Childress.

LaNaiah Frieson, Contributor

In high school, it can be easy to get stuck in a strict daily routine that leaves little room for students to unplug. As the year progresses and workloads begin to increase, it can be difficult to fit going outside and enjoying nature into their busy schedules. 

Envirothon, an environmental and natural resource competition for high school students across the United States, Canada, and China, has rooted itself within Calvert High. The CHS Envirothon team utilizes a hands-on approach to foster student interest in learning in the areas of aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, and wildlife. 

Like many organizations at Calvert High, Envirothon was impacted by COVID-19 when their tournament was interrupted due to the lockdown. Last year, the annual Envirothon tournament was fully remote like many other competitions previously held in-person. This year, members are ecstatic to prepare for their first county-wide tournament back in-person projected to be in April 2022.  

To train for the upcoming competition, members are given the opportunity to create their own presentations and lessons highlighting the club’s target learning areas. In their lunch meetings, they study the material together, memorize different trees, fish, birds, and mammals, as well as test their knowledge of forestry tools.  

Every member is assigned to a specialty team to spend the school year focusing on one of the four tested categories. Once sorted into their teams, members take part in hands-on training led by local environmental experts where they learn about conservation strategies, soil mapping, the human impact on the water cycle, and more in preparation for the tournament. 

Juniors Oliver Simon and Riley Strain, members of the 2021-2022 Envirothon team, believe the club promotes an inclusive environment for students seeking out the great outdoors. 

“Having that corner of people who are enthusiastic about the environment—whose voice is usually quiet—will allow more people to get the chance to go outside and connect with nature in a new way,” said Simon. “We tend to be out of touch with the world around us, despite living in a digitally connected world.” 

All students, even those who have no prior knowledge pertaining to environmental science, are encouraged to join. The club is focused on not only cultivating expertise in environmental science, but also bringing together a group of students from a multitude of backgrounds who are interested in studying various aspects of the environment.  

Envirothon meets every Monday in Mr. Gustin’s classroom (217) during B-lunch. Through Envirothon, students are given the opportunity to collaborate with each other to create solutions to global environmental issues starting in their own backyard. Prospective members of the club have a drive to educate themselves and others, take action in their communities, and work toward careers that benefit the environment, natural resources, and promote conservation.