Keene green teens compete in environmental competition

From left, Keene Central School students Cal Page-Bryant, Sam Baldwin, Joseph Wilson, Kyle Shambo and Lura Johnson recently won first place in the North Country Regional Envirothon. The team is headed to state finals in Geneva today. (Photo provided — Olivia Dickenson, Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District)

KEENE VALLEY — Five Keene Central School students are set to compete in a statewide environmental science competition today.

The teens will represent Essex County as they compete against high school teams from nearly every county in the state at the annual New York State Envirothon, held this year at Hobart and William Smith colleges in Geneva.

The teens will be tested on their knowledge of five key areas of environmental science: aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, and sustainable farming. They’ll answer questions about animals, tree types, logging, soil layers and ways to make farming more sustainable for future generations. Students will also be tasked with presenting solutions for sustainable farming before a board of experts.

“They’re definitely topics that other kids should be aware about,” said Kyle Shambo, a 17-year-old senior who also competes as a track and field athlete with the Lake Placid team. “I like the competition. It’s just fun to do.”

The competition comes just six days after Keene Central’s two Envirothon teams took home both first and second places in the North Adirondack Regional Envirothon qualifier at Paul Smith’s College Thursday.

This is the third year in a row that Keene Central’s student environmental team will compete in the state finals, according to Shambo.

Teams that place high at the Geneva event will have the opportunity to go on and compete at the national North American Envirothon in Raleigh, North Carolina, this summer.

For Shambo, who has been on the team for the last three years, this will be his first time attending the statewide competition. Last year, though they qualified for the event, most of the original students on the winning team were unable to head to the statewide competition because of testing, he said.

“Finally getting to go this year as part of the team, it’s pretty exciting,” Shambo said. “I’m not certain what to expect. But it’ll be fun competing.”