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St. Mary's Ryken Team Competes in Annual Envirothon


Envirothon is an annual environmental competition where high school students from around the country, Canada, and China, exercise their training and problem solving skills in five categories: Soils/Land Use, Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife and a yearly current environmental issue. The tests were 4-6 pages of mostly multiple choice and some free response questions, and each test lasted 45 minutes.

In the 2023 St. Mary’s County Envirothon, nine teams competed from four county high schools, including St. Mary's Ryken, Leonardtown, Great Mills, and Chopticon. Some schools boasted as many as 4 teams, and SMR only had one during this first year competing since 2021. Each team is comprised of 5 members, each one specializing in a specific category. Freshman Louise Savvas, ‘26, led the Forestry category and, with the help of her teammates, SMR was able to secure the highest score among the Forestry tests. As a reward, each member took home a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card.

"St. Mary's Ryken Knights shine in St. Mary's County Envirothon natural resources competition, displaying their expertise and commitment to environmental conservation," said club moderator, Mr. Jonathan Smith. "The team impressed judges with their in-depth understanding of natural resources and their innovative solutions to protect them. Their outstanding performance earned them a top spot in the Forestry competition, surpassing 8 other high schools from across the county. The team's success not only highlights the importance of education in natural resources but also emphasizes the critical role that young people play in preserving the planet's precious ecosystems for future generations."

The Soils team was led by junior Dakota Bierbaum, ‘24, Aquatics by junior Taylor Mills, ‘24, Wildlife by senior Sabrina Vignola, ‘23, and the fifth issue, Climate Change this year, was led by senior Sarah Fore, ‘23.

Sabrina will be attending West Virginia University to major in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, and Sarah will be attending James Madison University to major in Geology. “I can attribute my plans for working in an environmental field to my participation in Envirothon,” Sabrina Vignola said. “The competition was like a trailer for what I may do for work after college, possibly as a park ranger.”

Louis Savvas said, “It was a really fun experience and I learned a lot! I really want to thank Sabrina for mentoring me through the process and I hope to participate again next year!” Overall, 2 teams from Chopticon High School took home the 3rd and 2nd place awards, and one team from Great Mills High School took home the coveted St. Mary’s County Envirothon trophy. Congratulations to all the teams!

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