New things are sprouting out of the York County Envirothon, but some things have stayed the same.
The new part is a study resource book about animal wildlife, produced through the York County Conservation District that organizes the annual Envirothon.
The 300-page book already has sold 500 copies, with all proceeds going back into Envirothon and educational services, said coordinator Kim Young.
And the familiar parts at this year's Envirothon, which just wrapped up Tuesday?
A group of homeschool students won first place at the high school level for the fourth straight year.
And the other standard sight was abundant at Tuesday's elementary school contest.
Even in an absolute downpour, the elementary students could barely hold back their excitement to run from under John C. Rudy Park pavilions and into the rain to collect their ribbons.
Students from grade three on to high school each get daylong sessions to test their environmental science knowledge on topics such as aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife.
At the upper grades, it's a sought-after honor to get first place and the opportunity to compete at the state competition.
Young said students stay after school just to practice. At least, those who are familiar with the set-up. Sometimes, a new school will show up and only then realize the Envirothon is more than just an appreciation of nature, Young said.
"They don't understand until they get here - it's a test," Young said.
York County has had the high school level Envirothon for 27 years, and likely has the largest Envirothon in the country, with nearly 1,000 students involved, and 164 teams Young said. Most Envirothons don't use younger students.This year's senior high division winners were the Homeschooled Omniscient Otters. The Homeschooled Happy Go Duckies took second, with Central York's Bad Bass taking third.At the middle school level, the Spring Grove Energizers took first, followed by the Northeastern Well-Known Wolfpack and the Central York Nature Nerds.
At the fifth/sixth-grade level, the Sinking Springs Solar Powers out of Central York won first place. South Eastern's Dorky Porkies took second, followed by the Homeschooled Sculpins [ash: cq: ]with Scalpels.The third/fourth-grade bracket does not have overall winners, as every student gets a ribbon of some sort.
"We want them to get interested," for the long-term, Young said.
But they did have high scoring teams. The Dallastown Intermediate Glamorous Goldfinches had the top Aquatics score, while the Dallastown Intermediate Super Squirrels were tops in Forestry and Wildlife.
Northern York's South Mountain Dragonfly Destroyers and the North Hopewell Dragonflies from Red Lion both got best teamwork.
The "PA Wildlife Journal: Birds and Mammals" book, which sells for $24.95 and is printed in color, is available by calling 840-7430 or visiting www.yorkccd.org.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ydblogwork