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ARIZONA AGRIBUSINESS AND EQUINE CENTER HIGH SCHOOL REPEATS TO WIN
2016 ARIZONA ENVIROTHON
A team of charter high school students met an ongoing environmental challenge – “Invasive Species: A Challenge to the Environment, Society and Economy” – to capture the 2013 Arizona Envirothon championship on Saturday. The five-member team from Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center High School – Paradise Valley will represent Arizona at the NCF Envirothon, competing with other state and Canadian provincial teams for scholarships and prizes.
Twelve five-student teams tested their environmental field skills on April 8-9 at the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant north of Peoria, Ariz. Other schools competing were from Phoenix (Ariz Agribusiness and Equine Center), Buckeye (Youngker HS), Peoria (Centennial HS), Litchfield Park (Trivium Prep Academy), Vail (Cienega HS), and Prescott (Tri-City College Prep).
The teams demonstrated their expertise in field science skills and developed proposals to address invasive plants and crayfish for a southern Arizona community. Teams were tested in water quality assessment, hydrology, forest management, wildlife identification, ecology, agriculture, and soil sciences, at Lake Pleasant.
Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center students Victoria Hoaglin, Danielle Wiggs (seniors), Kendra Wardon, Mikayla Harang (juniors), and Ariel Van Pelt (sophomore) and coaches Sheila McQueen and Sara Young will receive an expense-paid trip to represent Arizona against other state and Canadian provincial champions at Trent University in Ontario, Canada in July.
AAEC team captain Victoria Hoaglin will study pre-vet and aquatic ecology and fisheries at the University of Arizona in the fall. She said that “Envirothon preparation throughout high school has made me crazy about fish and aquatic invertebrates” and influenced her college and career plans. Her teammates attest to her passion and have nicknamed her “Fish.”
A premise of AAEC’s strategy for addressing invasive plants is to improve soils and the environment to favor native plants so that they can better compete against invasives. Wiggs concluded the team’s presentation by referencing John Muir, “Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
Second place over-all went to Tri-City College Prep from Prescott, and Vail’s Cienega High School placed third.
Award winners for ecostation field testing skills were:
Soils & Land Use – 1st and 2nd Tri-City College Prep teams, 3rd Centennial, AAEC, Cienega (3-way tie)
Aquatic Ecology – 1st Tri-City College Prep, 2nd AAEC, 3rd Tri-City College Prep
Wildlife – 1st and 2nd AAEC teams, 3rd Tri-City College Prep
Forestry – 1st AAEC, 2nd and 3rd Tri-City College Prep teams
Spirit of Envirothon 2016 – AAEC