Students Win Scholarships at Kansas State ECO-Meet Competition

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PRATT – The 20th Annual Kansas ECO-Meet State Finals competition was held at the Rock Springs 4-H Center, near Junction City, on Thursday, November 1, 2018. More than $2,500 in scholarship money was awarded to top competitors, who competed in quiz bowl-type games that require knowledge of Kansas plants and animals. The state 2018 meet included four events: a test on Kansas woodland ecosystems; a test on reptiles and amphibians (herpetology); a scavenger hunt, where student teams looked for plants found in the area and prove their identification skills; and an interpretive event – where teams put together informative, yet entertaining, skits to relay their knowledge of animal/plant species to a team of judges and their peers.

Nine regional qualifying competitions – attracting more than 500 students – were held in late September through October to qualify 25 teams for the state finals.

Nineteen schools sent teams consisting of 93 students, and seven individual qualifiers competed at the state event. High schools represented included: Blue Valley North, Crest of Colony, Dodge City, Eisenhower of Goddard, Goddard, Goodland, Inman, Macksville, Manhattan, Palco, Pike Valley, Pratt, Riley County, Salina Central, Salina South, Shawnee Mission South, St. John’s of Beloit, St. Mary’s-Colgan of Pittsburg, Smoky Valley of Lindsborg, Tescott, Tonganoxie, and Wilson. Wilbur Middle School of Wichita also competed.

The competition proved to be an exciting, hard-fought contest, with the following results:

Overall Team:

1st – Shawnee Mission South, Team A with members August Chowning, Claire Elscott, Harper Peck, Cheyenne Town and coach PJ Born. Each student received a $300 scholarship.

2nd – Tonganoxie with members Laura Heskett, Sofia Romero, Jasmine Sejnoha, and coach John Tollefson. Each student received a $200 scholarship.

3rd – Shawnee Mission South, Team B with members Mason Fitzmaurice, Alexis Hoover, Carley Leal and coach PJ Born. Each student received a $100 scholarship.

Individual Events:

Herpetology

1st – Jaclyn Perry, Blue Valley North, received a $200 scholarship.

2nd – Gavin Jones, Salina South, received a $100 scholarship.

Woodland Ecosystems

1st – August Chowning, Shawnee Mission South, received a $200 scholarship.

2nd – Christopher Kywe, Blue Valley North, received a $100 scholarship.

The competition and scholarships are only possible with the support of sponsors, which include Kansas Wildscape Foundation, Barton Community College, Chickadee Checkoff program, Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms, Friends of Milford Nature Center, Friends of Great Plains Nature Center, Geary County CVB, Kansas Herpetological Society, Kansas Ornithological Society, Kansas Native Plant Society, Lakewood Discovery Center and City of Salina, Goodwin Sporting Goods, Manweiler Chevrolet, Mid-America Awards, Kansas Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Riley County Conservation District, and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Education Section staff in Pratt.

Assistance in putting on the state finals competition came from K-State Extension, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education, Great Plains Nature Center, Dillon Nature Center, Lakewood Discovery Center, Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Southeast Kansas Nature Center, Milford Nature Center, NRCS and Riley County Conservation District, Russell County Conservation District, Wilson State Park, and KDWPT Education Section staff in Pratt. Many other private citizens also volunteered their time, helping make this event a huge success.

For questions, to view all regional and state competition results, and to find out how your school can get involved, visit www.kansasecomeet.org or contact Mike Rader at [email protected] or (620) 672-0708.

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