By: Alina Issakhanian and Katrina Gabrelian
Granada Hills Charter’s (GHC) Envirothon team recently participated in the 2019 Forestry Challenge where they brought home fourth and sixth place. This competition took place October 9-12 in Santa Cruz, California. Two teams competed from GHC: Team One with senior Aiyana Brooks, sophomore Cami Child and junior Shayla Pham took fourth place. Team Two with seniors Melina Carrizosa and Makena Plorde as well as coordinator and science teacher Wendy Hagan’s son Kiernan Hagan placed sixth.
The Forestry Challenge is a four day experience with five events. One event is field training, in which participants spend time with professionals to familiarize themselves with common tree species, forestry tools, and identification keys. There is also the field test which accounts for 60 percent of the team’s final score. It calls for a team of students to compete in a comprehensive field test where they identify and measure trees, analyze data, and make forest management decisions. The focus topic field trip is an event that presents students with a topic and facilitates a visit to the site of the case study where they ask questions and collect data.
The forestry challenge along with many other Envirothon competitions allow students with a love for the environment and environmental science explore their passions.
The final part of the challenge includes a presentation worth 40 percent of the final event score. The challenge requires each team to gather all their information and deliver a 15 minute presentation to a panel of judges.
In the 2018 Forestry Challenge, the Envirothon team placed first and third. Although they received lower scores this year, most students were new to the challenge. Plourde was the only returning member.
“This was my first time participating in the event. I learned how to apply my measurements to a management plan that I saw would best suit that ecosystem and the owners of the property. I think I also learned how to collaborate with my teammates in more stressful conditions,” Pham said.
The Envirothon team worked hard to achieve their scores for the Forestry challenge and look forward to improving their skills and learning even more for next year.
“This competition showed me that there are more job opportunities out there for myself and others who love trees and plants,” Carrizosa said.