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For Immediate Release: August 27, 1998 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

Five environmentally-sensitive students from Hopewell Valley Central High School in Pennington, Mercer County, recently took 11th place in the 1998 National Envirothon, besting 43 other high school teams from around the United States and Canada. This was the school's first year to compete both in the New Jersey and National Envirothon.

The Envirothon tests the knowledge and understanding of the students on natural resource issues and sparks student interest in further study of the natural world. Teams are challenged on several environmental topics through problem-solving and interactive situations at different testing stations. The Hopewell Central High School team, composed of Tyler Branham, Kevin Bullard, Joanna Hokenson, Jennifer Lento and Matt Reeder, actually placed first in the current issues station. This year's current issue was watershed management. With the help of a grant from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Environmental Planning, the New Jersey Envirothon Committee was able to procure relevant up-to-date watershed information and conduct training sessions relating to this pertinent issue. This year the National Envirothon competition was held at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan from July 31 - August 1. The event is the culmination of a school year packed with learning activities like forest field days, night hikes, wildlife nature studies, community tree plantings and debates on environmental issues in addition to normal classroom training. Throughout the year, participating teams have been trained and tested in four natural resource subject areas C soils, aquatics, forestry and wildlife C and in a fifth environmental subject that mirrors a current environmental problem such as watershed management.

The Envirothon is designed to expose students to a wide range of professionals working in environmentally-related fields, give students a background in natural resources and the varied options that go into decision-making and allow students practice in working with information and differing viewpoints to reach a consensus.