A team of students from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville finished second out of 40 teams in the recent national “Envirothon” competition held at Miami University in Oxford, OH. The event tested the teams’ environmental and natural resource conservation problem-solving, team building and leadership, per a press release. It also incorporated STEM principles, experiential learning, and hands-on outdoor field experiences. The Richard Montgomery “Tree Troupe” competed against other high school students across the United States, Canada, and China.
The second-place team consisted of Sienna Burns, Lynna Deng, Josh Goozman, Connor Palansky and Katie Yang along with Lissa Vincent, the team’s teacher advisor, and Barry Burch, Maryland’s Envirothon program coordinator, also accompanying them.
“I want to congratulate the students and advisor of the Richard Montgomery High School ‘Tree Troupe’ team on their Maryland State ‘Envirothon’ championship and recent second-place finish at nationals,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “There are few endeavors our young adults can engage in as important as finding solutions to combat climate change, promote sustainability and encourage conservation efforts. It is rewarding to know that our future environmental leaders are receiving an incredible foundation for their success through ‘Envirothon’ competitions.”
Throughout this year’s week-long competition, which was sponsored by the National Conservation Federation, students demonstrated their knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, and wildlife management through written tests and interactive stations featuring Ohio’s natural resources. A special category this year was “waste management”.
The “Tree Troupe” team has worked with Montgomery County’s Office of Agriculture based in Derwood, and staff members from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Montgomery Soil Conservation District. In the national finals, the Richard Montgomery team finished first in three of the five testing categories (Wildlife, Aquatics, and Waste Management) and fourth in the other two categories (Forestry and Soils). The second place finish was the best-ever by a Maryland team in the national competition winning them $30,000 in scholarships and prizes.
“I am so proud of our MCPS students receiving this recognition. Your teachers, your parents and the Montgomery County community celebrate alongside you.” said Superintendent of Schools Monifa McKnight. “Learning these complex concepts and applying them to real-world situations is the experiential opportunities our students need for success in their future. Programs such as the Envirothon competition demonstrate clearly that access to engaging learning unleashes potential.”