Manhattan takes first at Envirothon Regionals

Sonika Khosla, Staff Writer

The Annual Kansas Envirothon Regional Competition was on April 14, where our own Manhattan High School team took first place, securing them a spot in the state competition.

Envirothon is a competition in which teams look at different aspects of the environment and create solutions for issues while learning how to be stewards of the Earth.

To prepare for the competition, each of the five members — juniors Chase Glasscock and Eszter Chikan; sophomore Ameerah Alfailakawi; and freshmen Allie Cloyd and Kate Anderson — of the Envirothon team were assigned a content area in correlation to the five main topics of this year’s Envirothon competition.

“Each one of the team members kind of takes on one of [the] content areas and digs deeper and becomes an expert at it,” science teacher Noah Busch said.

The topics for this year are aquatics, wildlife, forestry and soils, and the current issue of the year is groundwater. For each of the subjects, teams must take specific tests. For the state competition, the Envirothon team will have to create and present a 10-minute oral presentation on groundwater usage and water rights.

“I think Regionals went pretty well,” Cloyd said. “Aquatics went really well and so did forestry. We’re going to have to look more at soils and wildlife because there is a lot [of content]. We’re prepping for the oral presentation right now, which is a lot of work.”

In addition to the oral presentation, the team will continue studying their individual topics in depth and start researching specific subcategories of their content area. If the Envirothon team takes first at State, they will continue on to the national competition.

Although the Envirothon team has been preparing studiously and doing well through this competition process, this year in particular has been harder than usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to safety protocols established in the pandemic, all Envirothon competitions are online, which completely changes the dynamic of the competition. 

Usually, teams gather in outdoor areas and immerse themselves in the wildlife around them. They also get to speak with experts in each content area before taking their tests, which gives team members extra background knowledge.

“Normally, Envirothon is really cool because it is an outdoor competition,” Busch said. “We get to go to really cool places and you always start the competition by listening to an expert.”

Team members also expressed their thoughts on their progress throughout the preparation process for Regionals and what they can improve on at State.

“Considering that I joined very late, we did really well as a team,” Chikan said. “We each studied our own section and we worked together through each problem.”

The Envirothon team is still showing resilience and dedication despite the challenges that the pandemic has brought, and Manhattan High School is all wishing them luck as the state competition approaches soon.