PCHS top science students earn spot at state Envirothon competition

May 28, 2024 | Featured, Schools | 0 comments

PCHS science teacher, Nichole Wiechman, left, stands with the team that won first place in the rookie category at last year’s state Envirothon competition. With her are, from left, Mason Short, Madison Wiechman, Kaylie Simpson, Morgan Wiechman and Arleigh Dackermann. (Submitted photo)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Port Clinton High School’s (PCHS) top science students earned a spot at the state Envirothon competition this spring, and they hope to bring home top honors. Last year, the team won first place in the rookie category and fifth place overall at state. The team is led by PCHS science teacher Nichole Wiechman.

The team consists of Team Captain Kaylie Simpson, Arleigh Dackermann, Mason Short, and Nichole’s daughters, Madison and Morgan Wiechman. The group earned a spot at state by being among the top four winners at the area Envirothon competition in April. A second PCHS Envirothon team placed ninth at the competition which didn’t qualify for state.

“Our goal is to place at least as high as we did last year at state, if not higher,” Nichole said. “The first place team will go to the national competition, and the top three teams get a check to help pay for costs.”

Twenty teams will compete at the state Envirothon competition, a two-day event at Hocking College.

The students will crawl into a soil pit to test their knowledge at the Envirothon competition. (Submitted photo)

The competition tests the students’ knowledge and skills in a wide scope of science curriculum, including soil, forestry, aquatics and wildlife. They take tests, participate in hands-on competitions, and make oral presentations. They climb into a soil pit to judge the health of the soil, name birds by their calls, and identify animal pelts and tracks.

“It encompasses all they learned in science,” Nichole said. “The prepping for this is crazy.”

The students take many practice tests, work in the school’s science lab and study tree identification flashcards. Although competition preparation requires a lot of the students’ free time, they don’t mind the effort. Some of them enjoy science so much they plan to make a career out of it.

Madison plans to study ecology and conservation science at college next year, and Dackermann plans to study environmental science and sustainability.

“This is their future, so they love it,” Nichole said.

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