May 6, 2021

Taking full advantage of the state Envirothon program, Decorah again set the mark for the highest number of participants from one school. 40 students in grades 9-12 filled out eight teams eager to learn more about their role in sustaining the environment into the future. The teams were recently tested on their knowledge of aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife via computer rather than on-site testing in regional competition due to COVID-19 precautions. Envirothon teams from across Iowa all tested on the same day. When the test results come back, two Decorah teams had qualified to continue toward representing Iowa in the national Envirothon contest later this summer. Team DNR–Decorah Nerd Republic–were top scorers on the wildlife test, second in aquatics, and tied for top score overall. DNR members include Connor Evelsizer, Anders Lovstuen, Lucas Arendt, Gabe Hiner, and Liberty Phillips. Cooks’ Critters¬¬–Anya Lovstuen, Ellen Rooney, Nadia Johnson, Sylvia Sandhorst, Aidan Nalean-Carlson–finished second in forestry and tied for second highest score overall.

The state contest will also be virtual. Each of the five teams who qualified for the state competition will submit a prepared speech dealing with an agricultural land use scenario. The winning presentation will become Iowa’s representative to the national Envirothon Virtual Competition in Nebraska on July 25-28.

Larry Berland, Envirothon advisor shared, “Having 40 students interested enough to learn more about the environment by participating in the Envirothon program, despite their busy schedules, is super outstanding. And then to have two Decorah teams finish in the top five on the tests is frosting on the cake with a cherry on top. I would like to thank Ross Evelsizer for all of his assistance preparing the students for the testing. Ross is a past Envirothon participant who was a member of two state championship teams.”

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Team DNR members headed to state include front row (l-r): Anders Lovstuen and Liberty Phillips
back row (l-r):  Lucas Arendt, Connor Evelsizer, and Gabe Hiner
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Team Cooks’ Critters­­ headed to state from (l-r): Aidan Nalean-Carlson, Anya Lovstuen, Nadia Johnson, Sylvia Sandhorst, and Ellen Rooney