Cass City Team Named 2019 State Champions

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Phightin' Phragmites, a group of students from Cass City, received top honors this year at the Michigan Envirothon State Competition held May 13th - 15th in Augusta, MI. The team of five put their skills of environmental science, public speaking and civic engagement to the test finishing first among teams from across Michigan. Team members include: Addy Battel, Pearl Daskam, Cody McArthur, Kirstin Mika and Tabbytha Sanchez. Caro High School's Soular Train, and H2Woah finished second and third respectively.  

The Michigan Envirothon (ME) program focuses on using the outdoors as a classroom, utilizing diverse "eco-stations" as competition testing sites. The 25th annual Michigan Envirothon State Competition hosted remarkable students from around the state. During the Competition teams travel to five "eco-stations" for hands-on testing in the areas of agriculture, aquatic ecology, energy, forestry, soils and wildlife. This year's eco-stations featured diverse wetland, prairie and local forest habitats. Teams qualify for the State Competition by participating in regional contests held throughout the month of March.

In addition to gaining valuable knowledge throughout the year, teams also complete a Community Outreach Project as part of the competition; identifying and addressing an environmental issue in their community through hands-on problem solving and community education. A unique component of ME, the community outreach project ensures that the program reaches the community, not just the students involved.

A panel of judges evaluates oral and written presentations detailing each team's community outreach project. This year the Phightin' Phragmites focused on environmental literacy. The team partnered with the Tuscola Conservation District, the Village of Cass City, Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, and Rotary Club of Cass City to create and promote maintained nature trails with educational signage and interactive activities.

"There are no opportunities to explore the outdoors in an educational way within the village. Families who already hunt, fish, camp or otherwise spend time outdoors may have these opportunities, but other families who are less eager to go off the beaten path alone do not," explained the team. The students will continue to implement their project, creating opportunities for students and families in their community to explore and enjoy their local environment.

The state champs will represent Michigan July 28 - August 2, 2019 at the NCF Envirothon in Raleigh, North Carolina where they will battle it out against other top teams from the U.S, Canada and China.

Michigan Envirothon (ME) is an environmental science-based education program for high school students, presented in a team-based competition format. High school students from anywhere in Michigan are eligible to compete. ME is designed to foster critical thinking, wise stewardship and community involvement. By participating in ME, students and advisors gain knowledge of the core subject areas, current environmental issues and are motivated to become engaged stewards of Michigan's natural resources.

Envirothon is a combined effort of natural resource professionals and educators to provide hands-on, outdoor education and gives young citizens the tools to provide leadership for a more sustainable and aware community. 

Adults and students interested in participating ME should visit or contact Angie Sandusky for more information. Michigan Envirothon is an education program administered by the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization.