Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - January/February 2011 - (Page 10)

Enviro I Becoming Environmentally Eloquent: by Peter satterthwaite thon 2010 t was the opening ceremony of the 2010 Canon Envirothon. As a member of the Rhode Island team, I was supposed to blow a vuvuzela when our team captain appeared carrying the state flag. I was so excited to be at the Envirothon, though, that I almost blew the vuvuzela too early—five times. Teams of high school students from 45 states and 9 Canadian provinces had gathered for five days at California State University in Fresno to demonstrate their knowledge of environmental issues. My team had entered our state competition as part of our 9th grade AP Environmental Science course—and won. As the only allfreshman team of the 266 teams competing in North America’s largest environmental science competition, we felt especially lucky to have made it this far. in class, a portion of each of the tests at the nationals would be related to the site of the competition—this year, the San Joaquin Valley. Following the opening ceremony, we would attend workshops to learn how the environmental topics we’d already studied related to the area. Five 45-minute workshops were offered, one for each subject. In the interest of time, we decided that each of our five team members would attend three different workshops so that at least two of us would become experts on a given topic. It was decided that I would attend workshops on forestry, wildlife, and soil. In the workshops, I learned that since we were technically in a desert that receives less than 10 inches of rain per year, there’s little moisture holding the topsoil down. (That explained the dusty air I’d noticed upon arriving in Fresno.) Still, the valley’s soil is very fertile and is important in the production of grapes, almonds, and pistachios—all of which had been included in our welcome package. Unfortunately, growing these crops in the desert requires intensive irrigation, which is depleting the groundwater aquifer under the valley. I also learned the difference between Environmental Awareness The national format would be the same as our state format had been. Moving through five stations, we would be tested extensively on our knowledge of soils and land use, forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology, and this year’s current environmental issue, groundwater. Because the ability to speak about natural resources is important in addressing environmental issues, we would also prepare and give an oral presentation to a panel of judges. The competition is hosted in a different locale each year in order to expose students to diverse environmental issues, ecosystems, and topography. Although we had studied the competition subjects 10 imagine Jan/feb 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - January/February 2011

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - January/february 2011
Big Picture
In My Own Words
Becoming Environmentally Eloquent
Bacteria vs. Polystyrene: Getting the Toxins Out
Feat of Clay
What Lies Beneath
Clean & Green?
Ocean Embrace
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Making the Most of Public School
Word Wise
One Step Ahead
Exploring Career Options
Off the Shelf
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - January/February 2011