|
|
|
Morning Sun
  • Patricks People - Eco-meet champs

  • A team of students from St. Mary’s Colgan High School has won the Kansas Eco-Meet, held Nov. 1 at Camp Russell Conference Center near Salina.

    More than 100 students from 23 schools across the state participated in the competition.

    • email print
  • A team of students from St. Mary’s Colgan High School has won the Kansas Eco-Meet, held Nov. 1 at Camp Russell Conference Center near Salina.
    More than 100 students from 23 schools across the state participated in the competition.
    “The mission of the contest is to challenge and inspire an interest, appreciation and understanding of the natural sciences and the Kansas environment through interscholastic competition,” said Donna Maus, SMC biology teacher and Eco-Meet team coach.
    Members of the state championship team are Ben Cortes, Nathan Flood, Hannah Maus and C.J. Russell.
    To be able to participate in the state contest, teams must place in the top three at a regional event. The southeast Kansas regional was held Oct. 18 at Greenbush.
    “We actually had a second team, comprised of A.J. Dellasega, Kelly Smith and Sarah Hughes, which also qualified for the state contest,” Maus said. “They did well.”
    “There are four events,” Cortes said. “There’s a scavenger hunt, a skit and two focus tests. One test is on an ecosystem, and the other over a species or type of animal.”
    Each student on the championship team receives a $300 scholarship, and Cortes received an additional $200 scholarship for earning first place in the focus test over the shortgrass prairie ecosystem. He placed third in the second focus test on ornithology.
    “For the scavenger hunt they marked off an area and we had to hunt down certain plants and leaves,” Russell said. “We had to find 40 things in 30 minutes.”
    Maus said that the group always goes to the contest site early to scout out the scavenger hunt area.
    “Everybody does it,” she said. “When you only have 30 minutes to find things, you have to have a strategy. We have a wiener roast and it’s fun. Last year we scouted in freezing rain.”
    Then there was the skit.
    “We had to write a skit about an organism in the Kansas ecosystem,” Flood said. “We did  ‘Harry Otter’ and presented it to the judges.”
    Other characters in the skit, based on the popular Harry Potter  series, included Ron Weasel, Hermice Granger and Severus Snake. Each character has five minutes to tell about its habits, what it eats, etc.
    “Our other Eco-Meet team placed fourth for their skit,” Maus said.
    The teacher/coach noted that her students spent many hours studying for the competition.
    They did a lot of preparation going outside and looking at things,” Maus added.
    “On the ride up we read a lot, and stayed up until 1 a.m. studying,” Cortes said. “Then we got up at 6 a.m.”
    It all paid off. SMC Team A won a decisive victory.
    “It wasn’t even close,” Cortes said. “We got 298 points and the second place team scored in the 260s. Sometimes there’s only two or three points between first and second place.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He has participated in Eco-Meet all four years of his high school career, and said that this was a very nice way to wrap it up.
    “It’s my senior year and I wanted to win state, all right?” he said.
    Maus said that the team was well-balanced, with everybody performing well.
    “This was really cool, and I was really proud of them,” she said. “I wish more teams
    from this area would take part in Eco-Meet. No matter what your career turns out to be, it’s good to know about the outdoors. It’s our home.”
     
      • calendar