JAY — A Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon team will travel to Canada to compete in the 2016 North American Competition on July 24-29.

Amber Delaney and Liesel Krout were on the team that competed in the 2015 North American Envirothon in Springfield, Mo.

Envirothon is the nation’s largest environmental science competition and includes tests in forestry, aquatic ecology, wildlife biology and soil science. Teams also must give presentations on current-issue topics, which this year is invasive species.

In May, the Spruce Mountain team won the Western Regional Envirothon Competition. It had the highest scores in all five categories.

The team went on to win the Maine competition. It finished first in soils, aquatics and current issue. With that win, the team moved on to the North American competition in Peterborough, Ontario. 

Adviser Rob Taylor said about $2,000 will be needed for the trip this year. The team will hold fundraising events.

The members will drive to Peterborough and will make several stops along the way. In Montreal, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be studied to see how it might be possible to prevent the spread of invasives. Nature museums in Ottawa will give insight into the history and ecosystems of Canada.

Once in Peterborough, the team will explore the parks and look at the waterway which features a unique hydraulic lock system.

Peterborough is on the Otonabee River and is part of the Trent Severn Waterway. The waterway connects Lake Ontario and Lake Huron and other lakes using a system of 41 locks. It includes several man-made canals.

“It’s Ontario’s summer playground,” Taylor said. “I’m guessing the current-issue problem will be to create a management plan for the waterway. All information used can be transferred if another scenario is asked for.” 

He said the team has learned a lot about geography, history, local politics and the Canadian national political system. 

William Brenner has learned much about invasives through his participation in Envirothon, including how species are introduced and some of their effects. 

Jordan Daigle has learned that species considered native in the United States can be invasive in Canada and vice versa. The Eastern gray squirrel is invasive in Canada. The northern pike is invasive here.

Daigle, a junior, likes forestry and wildlife. The animals are more interesting, he said.

Krout is developing a management plan for the round goby. First discovered in Ontario in 1990, the fish is native to the Black and Caspian seas. It has probably spread to all five Great Lakes, she said.

Delaney is working on a plan for giant hogweed. This plant has received a lot of notice recently because it can cause severe rashes and blindness.

[email protected]

To support the Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon team’s trip to Canada to compete in the North America-level competition, email Rob Taylor: [email protected]

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