• May 16, 2023

    Middle school teams excel at Junior Envirothon

    Fort Couch Team - 1st PlaceTeams from Upper St. Clair’s Fort Couch and Boyce middle schools earned several top honors at the Junior Envirothon on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at the Cottage at South Park.

    Among 23 schools in the middle school division, the Fort Couch team of Josh Beitler, Matt Beitler, Callum Pollock, Anthony Dipiazza, and Malo Dubreil placed first. Second place was won by the Fort Couch team of Trevor McClintock-Comeaux, Ryan Katukota, Suhavi Singh, Aanya Agrawal, and Ahana Mendhi.

    In addition, Josh Beitler was singled out as the top scorer in the entire competition at the Soils and Land Use station. The Fort Couch Middle School students were coached by Tom Yochum, gifted coordinator.

    Competing among 21 schools in the elementary division, the Boyce Middle School team of Sara Alhajhusain, Kenzie Petrick, Sarah Staub and Rebecca Zahalsky placed second. Finishing third was the team of Eamon Castrodale, Michael Clarke, Mateo Lin, Brayden Wong and Alex Zhang. The Boyce students were coached by Sherri Garvey, gifted/enrichment resource teacher.

    The Junior Envirothon is a "natural resource environmental education program that combines classroom learning and outdoor activities." The program is modeled after the high school Envirothon, which is an annual competition across the commonwealth. Students compete in small teams across five domains, or stations: Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils and Land Use, Wildlife, and Current Issues. This year's Current Issues included Invasive Species and the Exotic Pet Trade.

    “The winning teams put in time and effort over the past month preparing for the competition,” Mr. Yochum said. “We had the perfect spring day in South Park to demonstrate our knowledge at the various stations and were glad to come home victorious.”

    This year's competition used a combination of indoor and outdoor stations. Students completed multiple choice questions about the various categories and identified bird and frog calls, plants, taxidermied animals and aquatic species.