The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 23, 2012

250 youths converge on SU for envirothon

SELINSGROVE — More than 250 students from 45 U.S. states and eight Canadian provinces were welcomed to the 25th Canon Environthon at Sunday’s opening ceremony.

The event began at 7 p.m. in Weber Chapel at Susquehanna University. The students were divided into 54 teams of five students each, hailing from high schools across the U.S. and Canada. Schools in Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Alaska, California, Maine, Ontario and British Columbia were among those represented.

The students were greeted by the evening’s master of ceremonies, Joseph Kantz, a Snyder County commissioner and an alumnus of the Envirothon program.

He welcomed representatives of each school onto the stage with him, and each entered carrying his or her school flag. The theme from the film “Rocky” played as they came in, selected because Pennsylvania is the home of Sylvester Stallone’s famous movie boxer.

“We’re very proud to be your hosts for the 25th annual Canon Environthon,” said Carl Moses, provost of Susquehanna University.

“Learn a lot, and enjoy your time with us here,” he said.

“We live in a very interesting and challenging time,” said Tim Reich, of the National Conservation Foundation. Your problem solving, education and intelligence will serve you well, he told the students, but yours will not be the only generation that needs to find a solution to the problems facing the environment.

The Canadian national anthem was performed in honor of the program’s Canadian guests, with the performance led by Susquehanna University student Josh Druckenmiller.

“Twenty-five years ago, Pennsylvania began the Environthon program,” said Clay Burns, executive director of the Canon Environthon. The state wanted to host the 25th anniversary of the program and submitted three possible locations, of which Susquehanna University and Snyder County was one.

“It met all our needs,” said Burns, including easy access to outdoor nature locations and university facilities. “The county and university wanted us to come,” and the hospitality has been great, he said.

Visiting students also were serenaded by local musician and educator Van Wagner, who performed his own music based on American history and nature.

Over the weeklong Envirothon, students will compete and be tested in categories such as soil and land use, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues.

Students compete to win a share of more than $125,000 in educational scholarships as well as Canon products.

Teams competing at the Envirothon had to first compete at local, regional and state levels before being accepted at this week’s national competition.


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