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2018 California Envirothon at Wind Wolves Preserve, Bakersfield

CA Envirothon 2018 home pageThe California Envirothon successfully held its 26th annual competition on April 7 at the Wind Wolves Preserve (WWP), a 93,000 acre region on the San Joaquin Valley floor. The current theme is “Western Rangelands Management: Balancing Diverse Views.”

Seven high schools and 11 teams from around southern California participated in the event. Activities include testing at field stations on core topics: soils, aquatics/water resources, forestry and wildlife. Oral presentations on a provided written scenario challenged the teams’ skills at problem solving, team work, critical thinking, and comprehension related to the current theme.

2018 CA Envirothon-2Winning first place was the team “Foxtails” from Granada Hills Charter High School. They will advance to the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon, July 22-28, in Pocatello, Idaho. Team members include Zion Ramirez, Emily Zepeda, Megan Ikemoto, Helen Du, and Ariana Ballesteros. The team’s teacher advisor is Wendy Hagan.

“NRCS’ support to the 2018 California Envirothon was tremendous by the showing of 12 NRCS employees, volunteers and RCD members who played major roles making this year’s contest a great success,” said Phillip Dixon, NRCS district conservationist in Lancaster. “A great showing of support for the California Envirothon and its continuing growth.”

Staff from the Lancaster office that participated worked as judges, group leaders, scorers and support included Phillip Dixon, Madeline Milner, Paul Nguyen with Volunteer Steffen Milner and RCD members Keith Geigen, Cheryl Casdorph, Jeannine Giuffre, Marilyn White and Laura Barabaugh.

James Booth and Amy Rocha from the Bakersfield office severed as Preliminary Orals judges for the 11 teams participating. Russel Plumb, soil scientist from Victorville presented the soils test he and Peter Fahnestock created. And Curtis Tarver, assistant state conservationist for field operations in Fresno was one of five finals judges who choose the winner.

2018 CA Envirothon-4The California Envirothon Steering Committee wishes to thank all its sponsors and supporters including Smithfield, Riverside Corona RCD, The Wildlands Conservancy (manager of WWP), CARCD, NRCS, UC Ag and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension, Tehachapi RCD, Antelope Valley RCD, the teacher advisors, and the many volunteers helping judge and those who ran around gathering completed tests at field stations (in the rain) as well as helping with other needed tasks.

Members of the Steering Committee include Jovita Pajarillo, Chair; Joe Loehner (USFS) Vice Chair; Nancy Helsley (RCD Santa Monica Mountains), Secretary/Treasurer; Marianne Maki (Liaison, LAUSD); Phillip Dixon; and Olivia Paradis (USC), web manager.