Ninety students representing seven Manatee and Sarasota county high schools competed Feb. 6 at the annual Manasota Regional Envirothon at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, reports Gail Cameron Somodi, soil conservation supervisor for the Manatee Agriculture and Extension Service Division.
The Envirothon is an outdoor environmental team competition testing high school students on aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current topic: "Sustainable Local Agriculture/Locally Grown."
"Amoeba Alert" from Manatee High School placed first. Two more Manatee High teams, "The Feds" and "Zaggin," placed second and third, respectively.
Teams from Bayshore High and Southeast High also competed.
The "Tree Thuggers" from Sarasota High School won in Sarasota County. Suncoast Polytechnical High School's "Renegades Orange" placed second and the "Kale Krew" from Sarasota High finished third.
First-place teams from each county are eligible to compete in the State Envirothon at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center in Lamont in May.
Top state teams will compete in the national Canon North American Envirothon during the summer at the University of Georgia in Athens.
Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District, along with the Sarasota Soil and Water Conservation District, sponsor the competition. Lunch was donated by the Manatee Fish and Game Association and prepared by the Florida Forest Service.
The Mosaic Company and Sarasota County Farm Bureau sponsored the event T-shirts, and Keep Manatee Beautiful sponsored the awards for Manatee County students.
Also involved: Manatee County Community Services Department/Agriculture and Extension Service Division, Sarasota County Water Quality Planning, Florida Forest Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oscar Scherer State Park volunteers and UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension Service.