June 11, 2003 | By: Haven Miller

Five members of Fayette County’s 4-H Environmental Club are heading to Maryland at the end of July.  They’ll represent Kentucky at the North American “Envirothon” competition that measures youth skills in such areas as soil and land use, forestry, aquatics ecology and wildlife.

“These girls placed 16th in North America last year, which is very impressive,” said Morgan Ellis, one of the team’s coaches.

In early May the 4-Hers, who are high school juniors, successfully competed against nine other Kentucky teams at the state Envirothon held in Nancy, Ky.   In addition to being tested on soil, wildlife, forestry and aquatics team members also had to write and deliver an oral presentation on a current issue.

“This year the current issue is farmland preservation so the girls have been studying the farm bill, and learning about practices that help improve farmland, urban and rural planning, and finding out what people can do to help preserve farmland,” said Ellis.

4-H environmental clubs are designed to give youth a hands-on awareness and appreciation of conservation.  Adult coordinators believe the clubs fit in well with 4-H’s emphasis on “learning by doing.”

“Many of the things clubs do are community service related, such as stream testing or improving a plot of land,” said Esther Moberly, Fayette County Extension agent for 4-H/youth development.  “It’s an excellent way to learn how the different facets such as soil, water and forestry all connect with each other and how they’re dependent on each other.”

4-Hers who participate learn new skills while also having fun.

“Rather than sitting inside, we get to be outside learning field-based aspects of environmental science,” said 4-H team member Josie Lamb.

“The Envirothon competition is a fun and educational way to expose young people to the variety of science-related careers that are available,” said Brenda Franey, 4-H club leader.  “It helps students appreciate the diverse skills that are needed in order to deal with the environmental issues looming in the future.”

Envirothon 4-H team members are: Josie Lamb; Beth Oleson, Ania Truszczynski, LeAundra Murray, Tara Franey and Laura Baird (alternate).

The North American Envirothon, sponsored by Canon, is designed to promote stewardship of natural resources and critical thinking skills.  It will be held July 26 through August 1 at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, MD.


Esther Moberly, 859-257-5582; Brenda Franey, 859-257-9339