The 14th Annual Kansas State ECO-Meet Finals competition was held at Camp Webster Conference Center in Salina on Thursday, November 1. It was a perfect weather day for early November, and the competition proved to be an exciting, hard-fought contest. ECO-Meets pit teams of high school students in a competition to see which can score the highest on quizzes about wildlife habitat, knowledge of wildlife, and interpretation/communication of ideas.
In the overall team event, St. Mary’s-Colgan High School (Pittsburg) Team A placed first and won $300 student scholarships. Members included Hannah Maus, C.J. Russell, Ben Cortes, Nathan Flood and team coach Donna Maus. The Shawnee Mission South High School team consisting of members Lauren Brannan, Teagan Fitzpatrick, Joshua Ford, Neil Johnson and team coach P.J. Born placed second and won $200 student scholarships. Third Place went to Blue Valley CAPS team members Piper Bold, Madison Crowl, Dani Roberts, Melissa Parcell and team coach Eric Kessler who won $100 student scholarships.
In the individual Ornithology event, Stephen DeHart, who attends Olathe South High School, placed first and won a $200 scholarship. Mary Freelove from Salina Central High School won a $100 scholarship for second place.
In the individual Shortgrass Prairie event, Ben Cortes of St. Mary’s-Colgan High School placed first and won a $200 scholarship. Kris Super from Maize High School took second and received a $100 scholarship.
Twenty-six teams consisting of 100 students from 23 high schools competed at this year’s event. An additional ten students qualified as individuals from nine other schools in the two test events. Nine regional qualifying competitions were held to see who got the honor of representing their location at state. Those regional locations were: Wilson Lake; the Sternberg Museum, Hays; Milford Nature Center, Junction City; Lakewood Discovery Center, Salina; Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita; Dillon Nature Center, Hutchinson; Prairie Park Nature Center, Lawrence; the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush; and Ernie Miller Nature Center, Olathe. The Kansas ECO-meet committee is considering at least two new locations for 2013 to host regionals, so there is potential for continued growth of this program.
The Kansas ECO-Meet wouldn’t take place without sponsors. They include the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, the Kansas Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Simpson Farm Enterprises of Ransom, Barton Community College, Salina Convention and Visitor Center, Kansas Wesleyan University, Lakewood Discovery Center, Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms, Camp Wood YMCA, Friends of Milford Nature Center, Mid-America Awards, Goodwin Sporting Goods, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’ Education Section in Pratt.
If you wish to view the results from all regional events and the state competition or have questions about Kansas ECO-Meets, visit the web site: www.kansasecomeet.org or contact Mike Rader of KDWPT: firstname.lastname@example.org or (620) 672-0708.
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism