Decorah team repeats

Decorah team repeats as state winner in the annual CDI Iowa Envirothon competition

Two teams from Decorah, Iowa, had much to cheer at the end of a challenging day competing in the annual “2024 Envirothon®” event, organized by the Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI) – team “Decorah Nerd Republic” repeated as Iowa’s 1st place champion, and team “Decorah Skabush” finished in second place!

1st place 2nd place

The competition, held April 29th at Jester State Park near Granger, is an environmental and natural resources competition for high school students (grades 9-12 or ages 14-19). Students challenge themselves to develop critical thinking skills that create inventive solutions to the complex local and global environmental and natural resource issues facing our world today.

The 2024 event was sponsored by CDI, Smithfield Foods, Iowa Farm Bureau, and the Iowa Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), with support from ICEC. Third place was secured by “Algona FFA” and team “Marshalltown Red” finished in 4th place. CDI Program Manager Carlee Sabus says this year’s annual competition once again welcomed to Envirothon’s tough tests and oral presentations another great group of young Iowans from all over the state. “This is always a great chance for our Iowa youth to deep dive into valuable problem-solving, teambuilding and leadership experiences,” Sabus says. “Envirothon challenges students to hone critical thinking skills and create inventive solutions to the complex environmental and natural resource issues facing our world today.”

3rd place 4th place

The Decorah Nerd Republic team – Aidan Nalean-Carlson, Anders Lovstuen, Connor Evelsizer, Gabe Hiner, Lucas Arendt (alternates Alex McGohan and Henry Weis) – will go on to compete in the international competition, July 28-August 3rd, at Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York. The team is coached by Larry Berland and Allysen Lovstuen, assistant coach. As an annual international competition, more than 25,000 high school students across the United States, Canada, China, and Singapore embark on a journey to find creative solutions to critical questions through Envirothon. Incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles, hands-on learning, and outdoor field experiences, Envirothon encourages students to expand their knowledge and explore environmental education and natural resource conservation through the study of Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils and Land Use, Wildlife, and Current Environmental Issues.

During the Iowa event, 13 teams of five members each participated from Charles City (two teams), Algona FFA, Decorah (two teams), Muscatine FFA (two teams), West Lyon FFA, Forest City FFA, Bettendorf, Marshalltown, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, and Nashua-Plainfield. In total, 49 teams completed the regional testing.

Emphasizing hands-on learning and real-world application of concepts, Envirothon students can be found getting their hands dirty in a soil pit, measuring the basal area of a forest, collecting macroinvertebrates in a stream to determine water quality, identifying wildlife tracks and signs, and many other skills and activities used by environmental and natural resource conservation professionals.

“We congratulate each and every young person who shared their passion for the environment and Iowa’s natural resources by joining us at Envirothon,” Sabus says. “Everyone is a winner here, and Iowa is proud of you all!”