Enloe Envirothon Goes International!


Tucked away in the 1700s hallway, a solitary classroom (1712) became the home for Enloe’s young environmentalists. Students who have passion and dedication for the environment meet in Mr. Ogren’s room weekly, to expand their knowledge of the Earth and its systems in preparation for an annual environmental competition: Envirothon.


Envirothon is a leadership experience for high school students interested in environmental and natural resource conservation where they are challenged to problem-solve, enhance their team building skills, and work hands-on in outdoor field experiences, all relating to environmental science. Participating students begin to show mastery in the subjects of aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife, and current environmental issues over the course of their preparation for the competition, as well as during. 


Envirothon has area, state, and international competitions. According to Feehan Tuttell, a senior Envirothon participant, the state competition is more about “applied skills” as opposed to being more questions-based like the area competition. Tuttell also mentioned an oral presentation in the State competition, where students are given an environmental issue to showcase in a presentation, proposing possible solutions based on their knowledge from the entire year. 


One of the defining features of Envirothon is the community it provides. Working with team members allows students to not only learn about a subject that they are passionate about, but also to meet new people who share an interest. Tuttell explained, “I joined Envirothon because I am passionate about environmental science and missed the team dynamic I got when I used to play sports.” Jackson Steene, another Envirothon senior who has also participated in sports said, “I thought [Envirothon] would be an amazing opportunity to learn more and connect with others who feel the same way.” 


Veronica Cheaz, Envirothon veteran and fellow senior, expressed a similar viewpoint: “I feel like the friends I’ve made have remained my favorite part. Though I really enjoy learning the material, my most positive memories have been made outside of the competition and test-taking.” Cheaz mentioned that some of her favorite memories of Envirothon were going camping and listening to Mr. Ogren’s ghost stories and taking a nine hour road trip to Ohio. 


Claire Skinner, freshman and new Envirothon member, also touched on the bonding experiences provided by the club: “I know you hear this about a lot of things but your five person team really does become your family. We study together and hang out during weekends and after school, and it’s a really fun and supportive experience.” 


Environmental Science teacher Mr. Ogren has been advising Envirothon for 26 years. He said that he loves the program and the relationships he has been able to make with students over the years: “I form relationships with students in classrooms all the time. But you spend a lot more time out in all kinds of situations with the students and environmental program…It gives us the opportunity to do some things I wish we could do more often in AP Environmental Science or science with some of the resource management…I’ve stayed close with many students for many years.” 


Ogren mentioned some of his favorite moments were before there were stricter rules on field trips: “I got to take kids on their roller coasters for the very first time and see the look of death on their faces.” He added that he also has wholesome memories of playing the game “laugh” in a park after one year’s state competition while watching the stars with his students. 


Envirothon is an experience like no other. Steene remarked, “I would absolutely encourage others to join. The knowledge learned and the experience gained will translate into many aspects of your life. The people you will meet within and outside of the club are incredible and will inspire you to accomplish great things.” As of 2023, the team “Subchronic Exposure” composed of Veronica Cheaz, Feehan Tuttell, Felicia Yan, Jackson Steene, and Disha Hosapattana made 1st place in the State competition and are heading to Internationals! If you see any of these students around Enloe, be sure to congratulate them!


If you have an interest in Environmental Science or a related field, definitely give Envirothon a look. It is not only a great way to further your knowledge of the world and its systems, but also a great opportunity to meet friends and form relationships that could last a lifetime.