Finding solutions to environmental problems

April 10, 2019

La PORTE – Area students got to show off their knowledge of environmental issues when the La Porte County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted an educational competition in March.

The Northwest Indiana Regional Envirothon Competition was conducted at Red Mill County Park with students from area high schools taking part.

The Envirothon tests the students’ knowledge of environmental resources including aquatics, soils, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues, according to Nicole Messacar, education coordinator for the LCSWCD.

Teams of five students, representing a school or organization, compete by answering questions and studying problems in each of the five environmental areas.

Taking first place was a team from La Porte High School, which studies necrotizing faciitis. Second place went to a team from South Central High School’s FFA; and third went to another LPHS team, which looked at cyanobacteria.

Before the competition, students study, with their advisors, to develop a greater understanding of the environment. During the competition, students spend time listening to presentations on each of the five areas.

The presenters were “invaluable sources of information to the students,” Messacar said. Presenters for 2019 included Jennifer Sobecki of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Paul Labovitz of Indiana Dunes National Park, Gene Matzat of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Mike Wigginton of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Jennifer Birchfield of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.

Messacar also gave special thanks to the La Porte County Parks Department for hosting the event, and assisting with the coordination, test grading and clean-up. Community volunteers Christopher Throgmorton, Kathy White, Steve Inman and Rick Brown helped with lunch, test proctoring and coordination.

— From staff reports