RAYMOND — Teams from Spruce Mountain High School in Jay once again demonstrated their knowledge of natural resources by their first-, second- and fifth-place finishes at the Southwestern Regional Envirothon Competition on Wednesday.

The event was held at Camp Hinds in Raymond with 18 teams from nine schools competing. York County Soil and Water Conservation District was host and Franklin and Oxford County districts assisted.

Envirothon is the nation’s largest environmental science competition and includes tests in forestry, aquatic ecology, wildlife biology and soil science. Teams also give a presentation on a current natural resources issue. This year, that issue was agricultural soil and water conservation stewardship. Key topics teams could focus on were:

* Soil and water conservation best management practices, their purpose and implementation;

* How are soil and water conservation best management practices interrelated to the management of wildlife, forestry and aquatic systems? and

* How do agriculturists maintain a balance between their quality of life versus the quality of the environment?

Spruce Mountain Team 1 students Will Brenner, Jordan Daigle, Austin Gilboe, Shawn Lecowitch, Brian Riley and alternate Camryn Berry placed first in all categories, except current issue.  

Spruce Mountain Team 2 students Gabby Beaudoin, John Brenner, Natalie Luce, Hunter Quirrion and Orion Schwab placed first in current issue, second in aquatics and wildlife, and third in the other two categories.

A team from Brunswick placed third overall, a Richmond team placed fourth overall, while Spruce Mountain Team 3 was fifth overall. Students on that team are Connor Beaulieau, Acacia Fournier, Tanna Herlihy and Abby Thurston. Member Jack Bryant did not attend.

Other high schools competing were Bonny Eagle in Standish, Dirigo in Dixfield, Greely in Cumberland, Lewiston and Mountain Valley in Rumford. Two Oxford County 4-H teams also participated.

Gilboe said his team used the Foothills Land Conservancy in Wilton for its current issue project.

“Losing to Team 2 gives us more incentive, motivation,” Gilboe said. “We will be fixing our presentation, improving our posters and studying more to prepare for the state meet.”

Team 2 used Stevens Island, owned by Androscoggin Land Trust, for its current issue project. International Paper donated the land in 1998, Luce said.

John Brenner said his team got off on the wrong tangent initially so they had less time to finalize their presentation. 

“We lost by 100 points last year, only 30 points this year,” Brenner said. “We’ll be working on aquatics and soils and using slide shows prepared by Liesl Kraut, an Envirothon alumnus from Jay.” 

“(Team adviser Rob) Taylor always says, ‘Studying for Envirothon is like drinking out of a fire hose.’ There is so much material to learn,” Luce said.

The Spruce Mountain teams were without Taylor, who is with the Spruce Mountain Middle School LEGO League team representing Maine at the World Competition in St. Louis, Missouri.

The state Envirothon competition will be held May 25 at the Harold Larrabee farm in Knox. Spruce Mountain Teams 1 and 2 will represent the Southwestern Region.

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At the Southwestern Regional Envirothon competition held Wednesday in Raymond, Spruce Mountain High School Team 1 placed first among 18 teams. The team scored the most points in four categories and were 0.55 points lower in the fifth one. Pictured from left are team members Brian Riley, Austin Gilboe, Camryn Berry, Jordan Daigle, Will Brenner and Shawn Lecowitch.

Spruce Mountain High School Team 2 from Jay placed second at the Southwestern Regional Envirothon competition Wednesday, April 26, in Raymond. From left are members Hunter Quirrion, Orion Schwab, John Brenner, Gabby Beaudoin and Natalie Luce. 

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