Pasco students battle cold, wits at annual Envirothon

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON   |   Times
Pasco High School teammates, from left, Jordan Kassabaum, 16, Ashley Gibson, 16, James Walmer, 17, Josh Griffin, 15, and Aaron Gibson, 16, identify a slash pine tree during the forestry portion of the annual Envirothon held at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell on Wednesday.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times Pasco High School teammates, from left, Jordan Kassabaum, 16, Ashley Gibson, 16, James Walmer, 17, Josh Griffin, 15, and Aaron Gibson, 16, identify a slash pine tree during the forestry portion of the annual Envirothon held at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Bushnell on Wednesday.

BUSHNELL — A battle raged at the Dade Battlefield Historic Park on Wednesday, but it was much different from the fight that took place here more than a century ago. That one was fought with bullets; this one, with brains.

High school students from Pasco, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties competed for $2,500 in scholarship money at the 13th annual Nature Coast Envirothon. Hundreds of teens from more than 50 five-member teams circulated among five stations where they were timed as they answered difficult questions about soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife and recreational impacts of natural resources.

The winning team for Pasco County was the Fighting Plasmids from Pasco High School. The team members are Ashley Gibson, Aaron Gibson, Josh Griffin, Jordan Kassabaum and James Walmer. The teacher/adviser was Donna Clark.

The overall winning team, "Not Applicable," was from Citrus County's Academy of Environmental Science.

Besides dealing with difficult questions, the students also struggled to stay warm, as the temperature only reached the 50s. Hudson High School's James Hurst, 18, a senior on "The Electrons," said his team bonded between tests when they huddled together to stay warm.

Some students said they participate in the Envirothon to spend time outdoors or to have the experience. Hudson High School's Purple Parrots were there as part of their advanced placement science class. "We get graded on how we placed," said Alexandra Brown, 17.

Paulette Lash Ritchie can be reached at eduritchie@yahoo.com.

The winners

Here are the Envirothon winners by category:

Aquatics: "Fighting Plasmids," Pasco High School

Forestry: "Not Applicable," Academy of Environmental Science (Citrus County)

Soils: "Aperture Science," The Villages High School (Sumter County)

Wildlife: "3/2s," Pasco High School; Cody Hart, Jessica Cruz, Morris Reynolds, Paige Wooley and Madeline Armstrong

Recreational impacts of natural resources: "J.A.M.E.S. 5," Springstead High School

Pasco students battle cold, wits at annual Envirothon 02/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:01am]

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