By BOB COUPLAND
BAZETTA - Different species that have been successfully reintroduced into the local environment were among the topics at the recent Junior Envirothon.
The Envirothon is an outdoor competition for Trumbull County students in grades sixth to eighth. Schools may send up to two teams of four of five individuals, and each school must be represented by one coach.
As a team, the students fielded questions on soil, forestry, wildlife, soil, aquatics and environmental issues.
Amy Reeher, an educator with Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District, said the teams met with specialists from each of the areas, and after the competition attended an awards ceremony.
This year, 15 teams took part, from Mathews, Champion, Badger, Bristol, Warren and Mineral Ridge and Trumbull Education Association of Christian Home Schools (TEACH). Reeher said each team went to five different learning stations.
Haley Caruso and Lauren Bower, seniors in Mineral Ridge High School's environmental science class, accompanied the seventh and eighth graders from the school to the event.
"I liked watching the fishing activity. We learned about and saw fish and insects that live here," Caruso said.
Reeher showed muskrat and beaver pelts, and the teeth of such animals which have a special covering on them to make them able to gnaw.
''I had the students guess what animal the pelt was from and also what animal sound they were listening to,'' she said, demonstrating with a turkey call. "Ninety percent of the questions we assessed are general knowledge."
The teams went to the creek, a beaver dam, swamp, pond and meadow. There was also a 1.125 mile trail from the swamp to the wooded area.
"This has been some of the best weather we have ever had for this event," Reeher said,
One main theme was the wildlife success stories where species have been reintroduced into the wild, including river otters, black bear, snowshoe hares, bald eagles and wild turkeys.
Kelly Hardval, education coordinator with Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District, said the teams had the opportunity to meet professionals from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, Forestry and the Division of Soil and Water Resources.
''The Envirothon idea is simple," Hardval said. "It combines the proven concepts of hands-on learning with the fun of spending a day in the outdoors. The result is an effective tool to help nurture environmentally aware students."
Steve Prebonick of Champion said one activity had the students studying the soil and the different layers and soil types and what kinds of trees grow in which soils.
"It is a pretty good lesson on soil," he said.
Makenzie James, a seventh grade TEACH student, said said she learned more about the environment taking part in the event
Alexis Jackson, also a seventh grade TEACH student, said she learned how to take care of the environment and how to better take care of nature.