In mid-April high school students from across the province competed in the 27th annual Manitoba Envirothon competition, this year hosted by the Manitoba Association of Watersheds (MAW).  The province was divided into 3 regions and the top teams from those heats are currently competing at the provincial competition this week, from May 23-25th at the International Peace Garden!

Students from Virden Collegiate are representing their school with two teams in this week's challenge, two teams in a total of 33 teams altogether! 

These are students who are keen to learn about environmental issues and are well-versed in their field. The students tested their knowledge regarding five topics: Aquatic Ecology, Wildlife Ecology, Plants & Forests, Soils & Land Use, and Integrated Watershed Management.

Virden Collegiate Institute High School Science Teacher, Julie Mathieson, inspired her students to formulate three teams to compete in the regional heat.  For this week's provincials the two girl's teams joined forces, thus two Virden teams are taking on the rest of the province!

'The Manitoba Envirothon is an annual hands-on environmental education competition for high school students, designed to encourage an appreciation for current environmental issues. Envirothon combines the exhilaration of team competition, the challenge of learning about environmental issues, and the experience of using this knowledge in hands-on activities,' shares Mathieson.

"This approach to environmental education helps students develop skills necessary to address environmental issues, such as collaboration, critical thinking, and public debate," she adds. 

The Virden teams are made up of students from Grade 10 to 12, the Environmental Science course being offered in Grade 10 and 11.  "But I do actually have some Grade 12 students deciding that 'Wow! I like this kind of stuff!' when they take that unit of the Conservation Bio-diversity Unit in Grade 12 Biology.  So, then I encourage them to take Environmental Science if that's something they want to go into post-secondary."

"We've just been very, very excited about going and being able to bring two teams," shares Mathieson, "and we wouldn't be able to do that without our sponsors, the Assiniboine West Conservation District and our Souris River Conservation District. We're very, very lucky!"

Please listen to more with Julie Mathieson below!

For more information on the regional and provincial competitions, visit the Manitoba Envirothon website HERE!

The winning team of the Provincial Event will have a chance to compete at the National Conservation Foundation Competition alongside winners from across Canada and the United States at the international NCF Envirothon event later in July.  You can find out more at the NCF Envirothon website.