One agenda item stood out as five teens stood up at the June 18th board meeting of the Wake County Commissioners.

Sub-Chronic Exposure, a team from Enloe High School in Raleigh, earned the title of “State Champion” at the 2012 NC Envirothon. The Envirothon is an academic competition that tests high schoolers’ knowledge in five natural resource areas–soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues.

Commissioners asked the students to reveal their winning strategy. Team Advisors Debbie Massengill and Chad Ogren said each team member committed 100% to studying the vast amount of Envirothon material on their own, and at study sessions after school and on weekends. Currently, the team is spending their summer preparing for the 2012 North American Envirothon July 22-27 at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA. The week-long competition consists of rigorous college-level exams and a 20-minute oral presentation that requires viable solutions to a given environmental problem.

Envirothon teams in Wake County are proudly sponsored and supported by the Wake Soil and Water Conservation District. Staff coordinate study sessions on all natural resource topics, many outdoors so students can meet professionals in various fields as an introduction to natural resource career paths. Staff also write practice exams and arrange oral presentation practices, complete with a judging panel to provide constructive feedback.

“In our 20+ years of sponsoring many Envirothon teams, there’s been four dream teams that have captured the State Championship” said Bill Cole, Wake SWCD Supervisor. “All four teams were nurtured by Enloe High School and we’re so very proud of them. These young people and their teachers work hard and it’s heartening to see their dedication and efforts
recognized. This is a tremendous outcome, and it’s environmental education programs like the Envirothon that help Wake District achieve its goal – to advance the environmental literacy of our young people so they can effectively resolve and prevent environmental problems for a sustainable future.”