The Stephens County High School Envirothon team finishes as one of the top teams in North America.
Recently, the SCHS Envirothon team that won a state championship in April finished 16th out of 57 teams from the U.S. and Canada at the North American Envirothon Finals in Bozeman, Montana.
The 16th place finish is the best ever for a Georgia team.
Team members include Ben Byrd, Kelsey Vanderhoef, Connor Roberts, Amber Mills, and Brittany Grier.
Dr. Terry Seehorn and Mr. Derek Demmler coached the team.
Demmler said the students worked hard throughout the year to get to this point.
“Starting in January, we work on the materials to get ready for region and then get ready for state,” said Demmler.
After state, Demmler said they have to focus on the particular region of the country they will be going to, which was Montana in this case.
“We have had to start learning western trees, western animals, and ranchland, which is not something we have a lot of in Georgia,” said Demmler. “When we think of ranchland, we think of some little farm with some cows on it. Out there, we are talking several thousand acres in a semi-arid climate, so it is a completely different beast.”
According to Demmler, the students put in a lot of extra time through the summer to get ready for the competition.
The North American Envirothon is the largest environmental sciences competition in North America, taking place over five days every summer.
Teams must demonstrate their knowledge in a number of areas related to environmental science and natural resource management through written tests and an oral presentation that must be put together in just one day.
Demmler said he is very proud of the students and their performance.
“I cannot be more proud of these kids,” said Demmler. “They worked hard.”
He added that they are not willing to rest on their laurels and want to do even better next year and at least, finish in the top 15.
Stephens County would not have to travel nearly as far for next year’s North American Envirothon.
It will be at the University of Georgia.
Besides competing at the Envirothon, the students also had the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Rockies and YellowstoneNational Park, while also taking in a rodeo.