As he has done for 12 of the past 14 years, Skaneateles High School teacher Rick Garrett escorted a team to the New York State Envirothon to vie for a top spot in the competition that tests the knowledge of the most environmentally wise students in the state.
It takes a lot to get to the state level. Before they even left Skaneateles for the NYS Envirothon at Hobart William Smith College in Geneva May 25 and 26, the Skaneateles Envirothon team Wood-Dorks beat every team in Onondaga County and took first place over 41 teams from five counties in Central New York.
At the State Envirothon, they came in second place - just three points behind the first place winners from Academy of Fox Hill in Orange County. The team won first place for the Current Environmental Issue item. During the annual Envirothon, teams of up to five students compete to solve environmental problems in five subject areas including aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current environmental issue.
Knowing nature in intimate detail has become a habit for Skaneateles students.
Skaneateles teams have ranked first in the five-county region during these years: 1997, 1999, 2000-2004, 2006-2011.
Garrett is advisor to the high school Environmental Club and coaches up to three Envirothon teams each year. With one of his teams usually winning at the regional level, he has taken teams to the state competition 12 times, coming in first two times, second place twice, third place twice, fourth place three times, seventh once and 14th once.
As a result, a showcase near the science wing is packed full of trophies won by Envirothon students. Each trophy translates into a bus full of dedicated students who can walk through woodlands, marshes and fields and identify plants and wildlife better than the majority of people on earth. Each trophy represents hours of studying and understanding of the environment, from soils to bird song to issues that threaten the earth.
Members of team one, Wood-Dorks who went to the state competition, include seniors Will Thomas, Elyce Buell, Emily Cosbar and Joe Copeland and junior Rachael DeWitt.