environWebOn May 4, two teams from Berlin High School and one team from Berlin Middle School traveled to the New York State Power Authority’s Visitor Center in Gilboa, NY to compete in the 2016 Capital Region Envirothon. The high school’s “Gold” team (pictured left to right: junior Ioann Popov, sophomores Vincent Scott and Joshua Hendricks, and junior Taylor Meyer) was the highest scoring team in Rensselaer County, making them this year’s county champions and earning them a trip to the NYS Envirothon.

Envirothon is a hands-on outdoor competition that tests student teams’ knowledge of in the areas of Soils/Land Use, Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife, and Current Environmental Issues which this year focused on an aquatic plant known as Hydrilla, an invasive species in our area. Berlin’s envirothon teams are co-coached by environmental science teacher Nick Toole and technology teacher Amanda Oligny, with 2016 marking the fifth year in a row that a team from Berlin has placed first in the county.

More than a competition, Mr. Toole said being a part of the envirothon is about “increasing students’ awareness of environmental issues and sparking passion for environmental science.”

“I wanted to be more aware of what is going on in our environment today,” said Meyer, who is taking AP Environmental Science with Mr. Toole, on how she found herself at the Capital Regional event. “This was my first time being there and it was a great experience. It was a validation to use what I have learned in class.”

The Capital Regional Envirothon hosted teams from Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties. The winning team from each county goes on to compete at the NYS competition, held May 25-26 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. The winners of the state competition become the NYS representatives at the National Envirothon. Wish our Gold Team luck!