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Sun, March 24

<I>Get down and dirty</I><BR>Squad scores 3rd-place finish at Envirothon

Finally, the students had to identify birds and skulls. They'd see a picture of a bird for 15 seconds, and then have to look it up in books and figure out what it was.

In the end, each team had two hours to put together a presentation.

Lofgren said the presentation was the most difficult part of the Envirothon, "getting up there in front of all the other teams and giving our speech, with so many scientific people critiquing us."

Team coach David Somerville said that each team gave a presentation to a panel of three judges, and those who made it into the top three had to give the presentation to everyone at the Envirothon.

Hamilton explained that in their presentation, the team members had to look at several different proposals for a city government, dealing with things like farming, street widening and building a park.

"We had to look at soil, survey the soils and see which types are good for building on," he said.

Then, the team had to decide how to use the existing circumstances to create a park or widen a street that "would best go along with the city's plans."

Although Mueller said the team just attended the Envirothon to have fun, and she went because, she said, "I just love nature a lot. I love being out in nature," each person said he or she learned something from the weekend-long excursion.

Ksenzulak said he learned that often city council members "plan the way they think things should be, not the way the landscape says they should be."

And as for winning, Mueller said, "I learned that you never know."

Team coach Steve Logan said that although Tri City Prep doesn't offer courses in environmental science, the Envirothon offered the school's students a chance at extracurricular activities and at possible scholarship money.

Logan and Somerville have been helping the students prepare for the Envirothon since this past August, working on environmental science topics once a week and sometimes more.

As the only school from the tri-city area to compete in the Envirothon, Somerville said he's "very proud" of the students for doing so well.

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