Lucas Arendt, Connor Evelsizer, Gabriel Hiner, Anders Lovstuen, and Aidan Nalean-Carlson, members of the “DNR” Envirothon team representing Decorah High School, took first place at the Envirothon state contest held April 24that the Jester Park Nature Center near Granger, Iowa. They will represent Iowa at the international contest to be held July 23-29, 2023, at Mount Allison University located in Tantramar, New Brunswick, Canada. Decorah’s “Team Skabush”–Justin Berlage, Peter Essa, Nathaniel Myers, Nathan Swarbrick and Henry Weis–finished in fourth place. Both teams tied for first place in the Current Environmental Issue category.

The Envirothon is a team competition for high school students, testing their knowledge of the natural world around them. In the field and classroom, teams of five students are challenged to use their knowledge and critical thinking skills to conduct hands-on investigations, solve real-life scenarios, and answer questions covering five categories: Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, and a current topic. This year’s current environmental issue, “Adapting to the Agricultural Changes Needed in a Changing Climate,” required each team to prepare and present a speech outlining a designed plan with recommendations and possible solutions to meet the current topic challenges.

Adviser Larry Berland remarked, “Have you ever been asked to determine the amount of sand, silt and clay in a soil sample by using only your hands?  Do you have the desire to figure out the basal area of trees growing in a woodlot with a 10 factor prism?  How about sighting in on the clarity of a water sample using only a Secchi tube or identifying turtles by the markings on their carapace?  High school students in Decorah who have been participating in the school’s Envirothon program are ready for these challenges and more.”

“I am very proud to say that 70 awesome Decorah High School students participated in the Envirothon program this year–a new record,” Berland continued. “They offer hope for the Earth’s environment. I want to especially thank Adam Riley along with the entire Decorah system for their support, including the super help of John Kraus and Maggie Schwarz along with a very generous contribution made to our program from Barb Schroeder and the Winneshiek County Conservation Board.”  

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Envirothon team “DNR” and adviser pose by the victory bell in front of the high school after the team takes first place at state competition.
Photo ID (l-r): Adviser Larry Berland, Aidan Nalean-Carlson, Lucas Arendt, Gabriel Hiner, Connor Evelsizer, and Anders Lovstuen