West Forest 1 - Front Row: Hazel Hilyer and Ayla Reese, Back Row: Jayden McKeel, Esther Forker, and Zach Carl. Photo submitted.

West Forest Competes at Tri-County Envirothon

May 6, 2024

SIGEL, Pa. – A pair of West Forest High School teams competed at the 2024 Tri-County Envirothon on April 30 at Clear Creek State Park.

West Forest-1 will represent Forest County at states. Team members include Ayla Reese, Jayden McKeel, Esther Forker, Zach Carl, and Hazel Hilyer, with advisor Donna Zofcin, District Manager at the Forest County Conservation District.

Thirteen teams from seven different high schools in Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson County competed. Six teams competed from Clarion County from Keystone, Union, Redbank Valley, and North Clarion high schools, two teams from Forest County competed from West Forest high school, and five teams from Jefferson County competed from Brockway and Brookville high schools.

At the Tri-County Envirothon, teams of five students rotated through testing stations covering environmental topics such as Wildlife, Soils, Forestry, Aquatics, and the Current Issue: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future. The station tests were proctored by Sean Lauer and others from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Eric Shelgren from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Miles Valchar from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, Megan Whitlach from the Jefferson County Conservation District, and Michael Sell from the Saint Francis University Institute for Energy.

Each station consisted of a paper test as well as hands-on components to test the students’ knowledge on the topics. The students have studied all school-year long with the guidance of their teacher advisors.

The County Envirothon Coordinators from each of the three counties-Hannah Bequeath from the Clarion Conservation District, Jenna Biggie from the Jefferson County Conservation District, and Donna Zofcin from the Forest County Conservation District-coordinated the event. Jefferson County Conservation District staff; Laryssa Remmick, Christine Hughes, Dana Hannibal, and Shaun Wessell provided additional assistance. Intermediate Unit #6 provided financial support.

Keystone-1 won first place and they will be representing Clarion County at the state competition. First place winners were as follows: Mariah Beary, Kylee King, Jovia Kinsler, Andrew Custer, and Lauren Roman. Keystone-1 also had the highest overall scores in aquatics, soils, and wildlife. The teacher advisors for Keystone High School are Matt Baker and Pamela McCandless.

Second place was awarded to Brookville-1. Second place winners were as follows: Cora Parson, Corrine Siar, Gavin Hannah, Caleb Kornbau, and Cole Householder. Brookville-1 also had the highest overall score for Forestry and Brookville-2 had the highest overall score in the Current Issue: Renewable Energy. The teacher advisor for Brookville High School is Amber Siar. All Jefferson County schools that competed are unavailable to attend states.

Third place was awarded to Keystone-2; Myah Miller, Cori Burgard, Makayla Adams, Johnny Hansford, and Jenna Ortz.

Awards were distributed by the environmental agencies who proctored the stations as well as local representatives including Forest County Commissioners Patrick Kline and Mark Kingston; Jefferson County Commissioners Scott North and Mark Humes; Zac Ankeny on behalf of Senator Cris Dush; and Diane Porter on behalf of Senator Scott Hutchinson.

The top teams from each county are eligible to compete in the Pennsylvania Envirothon, starting with the Oral Component video presentations due on May 13 followed by the in-person Station Testing Day on Wednesday, May 22 at Camp Mount Luther in Mifflinburg, PA. For more information about the Pennsylvania Envirothon go to https://www.envirothonpa.org/

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