Environmental excellence


Anxiously Awaiting–Both Team Photosynthesis and Team Manatees anticipate for the announcement of the different finalists. Junior, Karla Cruz, turned to her teammates to view their emotions. “I’m excited for what’s next,” said Cruz.

Denny Lu, Editor

On Feb. 4th, 2021, the Manasota Envirothon occurred virtually, with many participants competing across schools in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Two teams from our school registered for the competition this year. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the conference was held virtually over Zoom.  This year, our teams were able to be finalists in our region. Teams Photosynthesis and Manatees both prepared extensively for their contests. All participants reported to the Media Center during the early morning to get ready for the virtual event.

Envirothon is an annual conference that draws in hundreds of students throughout the nation to compete in regional environmental tests to assess the younger generation’s scientific knowledge of environmental science. There are three levels of competition: regional, state, and national. Teams consist of five people: one for each specific category of environmental science. The categories are wildlife, aquatics, forestry, soils and special topics. There are tests for each category, but the team works together to complete the tests.

Together as a Team–Mrs. Elswick and all of the competitors listen to the guest speakers at the virtual Manasota Envirothon. Mrs. Elswick cheered when the teams placed as finalists. “I can’t say what is my favorite [moment]…all of it,” said Mrs. Elswick.

Mrs. Elswick, the adviser for the Environmental Club and facilitator for Envirothon, was excited for this year’s virtual format.

“Envirothon is an exciting opportunity where students complete a set of tests together from a wide variety of environmental issues and topics,” said Mrs. Elswick.

For Team Photosynthesis, team members Olivia Johnson, Idali Meija, Karla Cruz, and Lilly Richards were first time competitors. They placed 3rd regionally and scored high remarks on their wildlife section. All of the teammates supported each other throughout the event. Karla Cruz, a junior, competed on Team Photosynthesis with the ambitions of placing as a finalist.

“I enjoyed it this year, and I would most definitely consider coming back again next year,” said Cruz.

One of the most exhilarating events of the day was during the awards ceremony. As both teams from Manatee cheered each other on to become finalists of the competition, the virtual crowds’ excitement was evident. Participants played a virtual game of rock-paper-scissors and did a “wave” over Zoom. Both teams huddled together as they anticipated the news of each other’s place, the whole room erupting in joy and laughter as the team names were announced. Team Manatees were excited to qualify for the state Envirothon by taking 1st place at the county level.

Envirothon draws in many crowds year after year to come together and think critically about local environmental issues. All the topics are special and influential in their way. This yearly competition is another way our youth can learn more about the world through an ecological lens.