Grand Prairie Daily Herald Tribune: Comp Team Wins Envirothon Title

Comp Team Wins Envirothon Title

Monday, June 2, 2014, 6:07:11 MDT PM

Supplied The Composite High team of Kajal Patel, Telsey Mclandress, Victoria Sajtovich, Moira Muir, Jyler Menard and teacher supervisor Roberta Bater earned first place at Alberta Envirothon this year.

The Alberta Envirothon trophy has returned to the Grande Prairie Composite High School.

The competition, run by the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development department, aims at creating awareness of natural resource and environmental issues amongst Albertan teenagers. Once a year, high schools from around the province meet to compete; exhibiting what they’ve learned in a written test, field tests and a presentation based on a scenario.

The winners, one of two five-person teams sent by the Comp, had to respond to the scenario of a farmer who was having problems with his business. The team, comprised of Victoria Sajtovich, Kajal Patel, Moira Muir, Telsey Mclandress and Jyler Menard, ended up just .02 points better than second-place Paul Kane High School of St. Albert.

“(The contest asked) how you can make your farm or land more self-sufficient or sustainable,” said Grade 11 student Menard, a member of the winning side. “There was a whole bunch of things we decided but one thing that reflects we are in Alberta is that we agreed to an oil well being created on it by a hypothetical oil company.”

“People would think, just from the name, that (the Envirothon) would be totally green as in anti-development. But they’re not anti-development they’re about the fact that we live in a real world where we have resources, we have a resource-based economy and how do we extract those resources and use them without damaging the environment,” said Roberta Bater, the teacher supervisor for the Comp teams.

“In the scenario, we learned that the company has a really good social licence and we learned through time that hydraulic fracking isn’t as dangerous as is perceived,” continued Menard, who said his team used the oil revenue to invest into other sustainability plans. He noted that the event was sponsored by an oil and gas company (Encana Corporation).

The event is a valuable tool to expand the teens’ understanding of the environment around them.

“The winning team was able to go with the County of Grande Prairie riparian tour, led by Jill Henry. The kids learned about riparian areas, they planted trees out near Beaverlodge last year and they had special presentations by Cows and Fish and so they had a little bit of an advantage,” said Bater.

It was the 18th time the Comp had attended the event, and Bater said it was the fifth or sixth time they’d won. Each of the five students pocketed $400 for their efforts.

Two-time contestant Telsey Mclandress, also in Grade 11, said it was the agricultural component of the Envirothon that was most interesting this year.

“I didn’t know a lot about agriculture before but when we went there, there was a lot of speakers and things to teach us.”

The event, Mclandress continued, teaches things everyone should know.

“I think they should just know how their actions impact the environment.”

View the original story from the Daily Herald Tribune.