San Luis Valley Envirothon
The “San Luis Valley Envirothon Project” is designed to develop students' environmental resource knowledge and skills in the areas of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, and wildlife. Students will then apply these skills to resolve current environmental issues. This natural resource education program is for students in grades 9-12, who form teams of 5 students that will compete against other resource teams at the regional, state and national levels.
The San Luis Valley Envirothon program is an effective educational tool, capable of supplementing environmental education both inside and outside the classroom. The program aligns with the current Colorado Department of Education and National Environmental Education standards. The program does this through a series of trainings that establish relationships with a variety of resource professionals who serve as student facilitators and mentors.
The creation and implementation of the San Luis Valley Envirothon Project was made possible by a grant from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Grants from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) are intended to encourage local cultural and historic heritage preservation activities and educational programs. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is administered by a non-profit board of volunteers who represent Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla Counties.
“The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area tells the stories of the peoples, culture, and environment of the lower San Luis Valley and its adjacent mountains” (SdCnHA website www.sdchna.org) This vision is shared by the San Luis Valley Environthon Program and the program's sponsor, the Rio Grande Watershed Conservation and Education Initiative (RGWCEI).“
RGWCEI recognizes that 82% of San Luis Valley students will come back or remain here in the Valley. By providing students the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities with the environment they develop an understanding of natural resources and are able to appreciate the role that the local culture and people play in their development.” Based on the experiences of students who participated in the 2015 competition, students enjoyed the camaraderie that is developed with fellow students, while field experiences gave them knowledge and skills that they would not have attained in the school setting. And an incredible 97% of those surveyed said the knowledge they gained in their Environthon experience has shaped their decisions when comes to their communities and their career choices.
This fulfills the purpose of the project, which is to develop knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who understand natural resources and the role that the local culture and environment has played in their development.
All San Luis Valley students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to participate. Expenses to the field studies and state competition will be reimbursed back to the schools who participate.
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