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Rockdale 4-H places 20th in national environmental competition
2010national-envirothon standing
Elizabeth Mitchell, Jordan Alexander, Breyanna King, Peyton Fanning, Chrissy Hattaway, Jule-Lynne Macie

The Rockdale 4-H Envirothon Team recently returned from the National Canon Envirothon competition after placing 20th out of 54 teams - the highest a Georgia team has ever placed.

The Envirothon, held this year in Fresno, Calif., is the largest high school environmental contest in the world. More than 270 teenagers from 45 U.S. states and 9 Canadian provinces studied environmental issues and resource conservation, while competing for a share of more than $125,000 in scholarships and Canon products.

Team members included Elizabeth Mitchell (team captain), Jordan Alexander, Peyton Fanning, Chrissy Hattaway and Breyanna King. Caitlin Saxton was also a member of the state winning team. The team was coached by County Extension Agent Jule-Lynne Macie. The Rockdale 4-H team bested 43 teams in Georgia to advance to the national contest.

The Canon Envirothon tests teams on their knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and a current environmental issue. The current issue for this year's competition was Protection of Groundwater Through Urban, Agricultural and Environmental Planning. The competing teams are tested on their understanding of long-term and short-term impacts of natural environmental and human activities on species and ecosystems. Some of the things a team member learns are identification of wildlife through skulls, pelts, feces and tracks, trees, soil types, macroinvertebrates as well as topics such as non point source pollution, slopes, forest management and soil permeability.

Each team's knowledge is tested under the supervision of foresters, soil scientists, wildlife specialists and other natural resource professionals. Teamwork, problem-solving and presentation skills are evaluated as each team offers a panel of judges an oral presentation containing recommendations for solving the specific challenge that is presented during the competition.

The Rockdale 4-H team was sponsored by the Georgia Envirothon organization, Rockdale Soil and Water Conservation District and the Rockdale Farm Bureau.