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Teaching Workshop Held for Envirothon

story by Dennis Brezina, Resource Soil Scientist

The annual Texas Envirothon training workshop, "Teach the Teacher Day," was held recently at the Environmental Institute of Houston on the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus. Envirothon is a high school extra-curricular environmental competition. It is taught by a team advisor, typically a high school biology, environmental science or earth science teacher.

Dennis Brezina, a NRCS resource soil scientist for the Bryan zone, gave a presentation on soils where he taught about different physical and chemical properties of soil, such as soil textural classes and how to use a soil color book.

Wendy Reistle, environmental education program coordinator with the Environmental Institute of Houston, said "The teacher training workshop is a wonderful opportunity for Texas high school teachers to learn about environmental issues so they can in turn educate their students. We have some fantastic resource professionals who spend a Saturday with the teachers presenting materials and answering questions. The teachers look forward to this workshop each January, and I feel very lucky to have such knowledgeable resource professionals who present for the Texas Envirothon program."

Envirothon is a team competition with five members competing in five categories of aquatics, forestry, soil science, wildlife biology, and a current environmental issue. This year's issue is the protection of ground water through urban, agricultural, and environmental planning. The three major goals of Envirothon are for the students to learn more about the natural environment, promote stewardship of natural resources, and to encourage them to become more environmentally aware.

The Texas Envirothon is a three day event typically held close to Earth Day. This year's competition will be held April 17-19 in Houston. The exact location is kept undisclosed until the contest starts.

The teams will compete in a written field examination at five different eco-site stations. The stations have questions pertaining to the different eco-sites in each of the categories. Students have only 25 minutes to answer 30 questions at each station. The teams also must complete an oral presentation.

The winning team will advance to the five day North American Canon Envirothon Contest in August. The winning team's national trip expenses are paid for through the Environmental Institute of Houston and from grants and donations. This year's competition will be in Fresno, Calif. The students also compete for scholarships at the Canon Envirothon competition.

There is still time for schools to register for the 2010 Envirothon. The deadline is April 2. For more information about the Texas Envirothon, contact Wendy Reistle at (281) 283-3045 or visit

Texas Envirothon students learn about the physical properties of different soils from Dennis Brezina, resource soil scientist for Zone 4 in Bryan.

Texas Envirothon students learn about the physical properties of
different soils from Dennis Brezina, resource soil scientist for
Zone 4 in Bryan.