Charter School of Wilmington Wins Championship in 2022 Delaware Envirothon

USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Kasey Taylor, with Charter School of Wilmington Team A: Mukta Kantak, Tiffany Situ, Meghna Raj Annasagaram, Erica Hong, Claire Andreasen, and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. DNREC photo.

 

Charter School of Wilmington Team A is the winner of the 2022 Delaware Envirothon competition held today at the St. Jones Estuarine Research Reserve in Dover, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts announced today. Today’s win marks the school’s 20th win in the event’s 27-year history, including an unbroken winning streak since 2002. Peach Blossom 4-H Club came in second place and Odessa High School FFA placed third in the Envirothon competition.

“Today, 10 teams of Delaware students were challenged to apply their environmental knowledge to plan and present inventive solutions to present-day environmental situations – and I would like congratulate all of them for stepping up to the challenge,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “These students are today’s young environmental stewards, and I look forward to seeing them taking leadership roles to help ensure the future.”

This year, the 10 competing Envirothon teams representing six high schools and one 4-H club statewide – Calvary Christian Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Newark Charter School, Odessa High School FFA, Smyrna High School FFA, Sussex Tech High School FFA and Peach Blossom 4-H Club – worked hard all school year to prepare for the event.

Each team answered questions, reviewed specimens, and took measurements in topics dealing with aquatic ecology, soils/land use, wildlife, forestry, air quality and the current environmental issue of “Waste to Resources.” Teams also had to give a seven to 10 minute oral presentation of a scenario based on the special topic. After more than three hours of testing, Charter School of Wilmington Team A was crowned the 2022 state champion. The first place team will represent Delaware at the 2022 North American National Conservation Foundation Envirothon held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in late July.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon and other prizes. The winning team will also receive an award plaque for their school. The second through seventh place teams received more than $1,300 in special team awards and cash prizes. Special cash awards for the top three teams in air quality, forestry, and soils were provided by the DNREC Division of Air Quality, the Delaware Forestry Association, and the Pocomoke Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams. The official results are as follows:

  • First place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team A: Claire Andreasen, Meghna Raj Annasagaram, Erica Hong, Mukta Kantak, Tiffany Situ and alternate Rujula Brokar
  • Second place – Peach Blossom 4-H Club: Brielle Carter, Aidan Garey, Brenna Geidel, Bethany Knutsen and Leighton Webb
  • Third place – Odessa High School FFA: Kaelin Desrosiers, Natalie Holdren, Bruce Macolley, Taylor Mahoney and Ella Vandervort
  • Fourth place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team C: Rakshetha Balaji, Mikul Duggal, Arjan Kahlon, Khai McCaskill and Dharshini Senthilnathan
  • Fifth place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team B: Amogh Baradwaj, Siddhi Dinavahi, Pargya Singh and Michaela Somers and Joanna Tan
  • Sixth place – Newark Charter High School CliMates: Samita Bomasamudram, Anna Gliwa, Amber Gray, Jared Murray and Benjamin Schultz
  • Seventh place – Calvary Christian Academy: Dawson Shahan, John Thomas, Michelle Thomas, Elijah Washington, Kayleigh Young

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $62,500 in scholarships to 125 students. The event is hosted by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local districts. A program of the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts, the Delaware Envirothon is also sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

More information can be found at www.delawareenvirothon.org.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Champion Crowned in 2022 Delaware Junior Solar Sprint

Christian Wiggins of Fred Fifer Middle School of Camden gives a thumbs up for the 2022 Junior Solar Sprint. Wiggins and teammate Priya Patel took top honors in the virtual competition Wednesday, April 27.

 

Middle School Students Build, Race Solar Vehicles

The team of Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School of Camden earned the title of 2022 Delaware Junior Solar Sprint champion in a virtual competition held Wednesday.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control teams up with the Delaware Technology Student Association for the event each year. Middle school students work with classmates and teacher advisors over several months to build model cars powered by solar photovoltaic cells, better known as solar panels.

“Transitioning to cleaner energy sources is a key strategy is Delaware’s Climate Action Plan,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This competition provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate how we can accomplish our goal of reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, all while increasing their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

For the second year, the competition was held virtually. As a result, in addition to designing their solar vehicles, students had to construct a track to competition specifications and record their best times in a video presentation that was also part of the judging.

“The Junior Solar Sprint really showcases the talents and ingenuity of each of the teams,” said DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy Director Dayna Cobb. “And even with the added requirements of the virtual format, the students once again performed well beyond expectations.”

The Junior Solar Sprint encourages students to engage in problem-solving, teamwork and creative scientific thinking to take on environmental challenges.

Students received points for project portfolios, video presentations of their work, overall design and fastest speed in a timed run. The team accumulating the most points wins and has an opportunity to represent Delaware against other students from around the country in the national TSA conference, which is being held in Dallas, Texas, in June.

Schools participating in this year’s event included Holy Cross School, Dover; Conrad Schools of Science, Wilmington; Gauger-Cobbs Middle School, Newark; Fred Fifer Middle School, Camden; Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Wilmington; and H.B. duPont Middle School, Hockessin.

Competition results:

The all-around winners for combined speed, design, video and portfolio presentations were:

  • 1st place: Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School
  • 2nd place: Vishal Karthikeyan, Chetan Kasukurthi, Vedic Mukherjee and Aashrith Banda from Cab Calloway School of the Arts
  • 3rd place: Joshua Ford, Robert Maegerle, Eleni Demetriou and Cooper Oldham from H.B. duPont Middle School

Top results from the timed run competition included:

  • 1st place: Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School
  • 2nd place: Vishal Karthikeyan, Chetan Kasukurthi, Vedic Mukherjee and Aashrith Banda from Cab Calloway School of the Arts
  • 3rd place: Victoria Pate, Brynn Reeves, Paityn O’Leary and Savannah Miller from Holy Cross School

Top results from the design and video competition included:

  • 1st place: Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School
  • 2nd place: Victoria Pate, Brynn Reeves, Paityn O’Leary and Savannah from Holy Cross School
  • 3rd place: Massimo Smith, Isabella DiMondi, Samantha Worden and Sophia Preskenis from Holy Cross School

Top results from the portfolio competition included:

  • 1st place: Christian Wiggins and Priya Patel from Fred Fifer Middle School
  • 2nd place: Vishal Karthikeyan, Chetan Kasukurthi, Vedic Mukherjee and Aashrith Banda from Cab Calloway School of the Arts
  • 3rd. place: Tushar Rameshbabu and Soumil Ghosh from Conrad Schools of Science

DNREC would also like to thank the 2022 Virtual Junior Solar Sprint sponsors: Chesapeake Utilities, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility, Delaware Electric Co-Op and the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation.

Visit de.gov/solarsprint for more information on the Junior Solar Sprint, or to watch a recording of the virtual competition.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

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Students Win Contest for Earth Day Videos

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, center, with the winners of DNREC’s 2022 Earth Day Video Contest, left to right: Middle school winner Johannes Chow, Elementary school winner Michael Hopkins and High school winner Nathen Going. DNREC Photo.

 

 

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin today recognized student winners from throughout the state who won this year’s Earth Day video contest hosted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The contest was launched by DNREC to educate and engage youth about the importance of environmental protection and inspire them to be part of the solution to address climate change.

The contest invited students to produce and submit a 30-second video to answer the question, “If you were in charge of the world, what actions would you take to improve the health of our planet?”

“I am proud of our young people who participated in the DNREC Earth Day video contest,” said Governor John Carney. “They showed us all the ways – small and large – we can improve the health of our planet on Earth Day and every day, from picking up litter to practicing recycling to planting a tree at your school or in your neighborhood. Congratulations to the participants of the contest and we look forward to seeing the positive impact your make on our state and our environment in the future.”

“Our mission is to protect human health and the environment, and part of that is done through educating the public about our historic, cultural and natural resources,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “By hosting the video contest, we wanted to provide our students a platform to share their concerns and propose solutions to the environmental challenges we face today and into the future. These videos reflect their readiness to take on environmental leadership roles and make a difference.”

The Earth Day video contest was open to all Delaware students and was judged in three grade categories: K through 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 12. Judging was based on how well the videos represented the following criteria: message/theme, visual effectiveness, originality/creativity and universal appeal. Serving on the judging panel were: Sherae’a “Rae” Moore, educator and State Representative; Maddy Lauria, freelance environmental journalist; Jackie Knoll, head environmental educator with the Center for the Inland Bays; and DNREC videographer Mike Polo.

The winners are:

K to 4: Michael Hopkins, a 7-year-old first grader at Kathleen H. Wilbur Elementary School in Bear, for the video “Save the Earth – It’s Easy-Peasy!”

5 to 8: Johannes Chow, a 12-year-old seventh grader at Brandywine Springs School in Wilmington, for the video “We Have Only One World”

9 to 12: Nathen Going, an 18-year-old 12th grader at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, for the video “Save Our Planet”

Each of the videos are posted to de.gov/earthday and the @DelawareDNREC YouTube channel. DNREC also published a highlights video featuring clips from several entries. Each winner received a certificate, a $500 gift card, an annual pass to Delaware State Parks and a prize bag.

 

 

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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DNREC Volunteer Awards, Tree for Every Delawarean Planting Kick Off Earth Week at Brandywine Park

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and State Senator Nicole Poore, Jobs for Delaware Graduates president, help plant a ceremonial sycamore tree along the Brandywine River as part of the 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards and Tree for Every Delawarean Planting held April 18 at Brandywine Park in Wilmington. Pictured, left to right, are: Secretary Garvin; Josh Fitzgerald, grounds maintenance supervisor for Wilmington and Alapocas Run State Parks; Angel Davila-Chicas and Stephanie Mendez-Torres, Jobs for Delaware Graduates volunteers; Senator Poore, and DNREC Deputy Secretary Lisa Borin Ogden. /DNREC photo

 

 

To kick off Earth Week and National Volunteer Week, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) hosted its 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards ceremony Monday in Brandywine Park, Wilmington, alongside a Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative (TEDI) planting by Jobs for Delaware Graduates (JDG) youth volunteers.

Secretary Shawn M. Garvin presented the DNREC Volunteer Awards to outstanding Delawareans who have stepped up to get their hands dirty to benefit the Delaware State Parks and the planet, and then joined JDG President Sen. Nicole Poore to plant a ceremonial sycamore tree at the planting site along the Brandywine River.

“The volunteers celebrated today are valuable stewards of Delaware State Parks and help DNREC reach its mission,” Secretary Garvin said. “Our parks system benefits from friends groups, veterans, youth organizations, businesses, non-profits, families and individuals. Volunteering for DNREC is a win-win opportunity, where members of the public can give back to our state and the planet we all call home and enjoy Delaware’s natural and cultural resources.”

While volunteer hours have decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,054 volunteers contributed 97,500 hours, or the equivalent of 50 full-time employees, throughout Delaware State Parks in 2021. Volunteer opportunities at the parks include helping with operations, maintenance, programming, education, environmental stewardship, trail upkeep and to tell the history of Delaware.

Jobs for Delaware Graduates volunteers gladly stepped up to plant 120 saplings in the picnic area along the river. JDG is a school-to-work transitional program, dedicated to helping youth who face challenges and helping them reach academic and economic success.

The April 18 TEDI planting is one of several hosted by DNREC and the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) this spring. TEDI is a statewide initiative that aims to plant 1 million trees, or about one for every resident.

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy and DDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program partner with other stakeholders to administer the initiative, which was launched last year as a key strategy of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and offset the greenhouse gases that are driving climate change.

This TEDI planting will help soak up excess rainwater and filter out pollutants, which will improve water quality of the Brandywine River. JDG is a school-to-work transitional program that helps youth who face challenges reach academic and economic success.

Delawareans can add any trees they plant to the online TEDI Tracker, which shows location and other information about trees planted around the state since 2020. The web page, de.gov/tedi, also provides information on TEDI tree planting volunteer opportunities.

The recipients of the 2022 DNREC Volunteer Awards for advancing the department’s mission through outstanding service include:

Youth Education Volunteer of the Year: Owen Marko.

Administration/Coordinator Group Volunteer of the Year: Lums Pond Campground Hosts.

Youth Group Volunteer of the Year: B.S.A. Troop 2.

Business Partner: DuPont Company.

Habitat Restoration/Conservation: Don Coats.

Recreation Group Volunteer of the Year: Brandywine Mountain Bike Collective.

Historical Conservation/Restoration Group: Auburn Valley Railroad Crew.

Historical Education Volunteer of the Year: Pauletta Clemens.

Environmental Education Individual Volunteer of the Year: Andy Ednie.

Environmental Conservation Volunteer of the Year: Wendy Aycoth.

Recreation Individual Volunteer of the Year: Gary Kirk.

Friends Group Volunteer of the Year: Friends of Wilmington State Parks.

Administration and Coordination Volunteer of the Year: Kimberly Gould.

DNREC offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. For more information, visit de.gov/dnrecvolunteer.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov


Students ‘Make A Splash’ for the Environment

Fourth and fifth grade students learn about the importance of trees at the annual Make A Splash event held at the St. Jones Reserve and John Dickinson Plantation in Dover Wednesday. DNREC photo.

 

Annual Event Highlights Importance of Protecting Water Resources

More than 370 students from five elementary schools participated in the annual “Make a Splash” festival Wednesday, an event that educates students on the diversity of estuary life and the importance of Delaware’s water resources.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) co-sponsors the event, which is held annually at the St. Jones Reserve, a component of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), and the Department of State Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs’ John Dickinson Plantation near Dover.

Throughout the day, students visited activity stations dedicated to the historical and current uses of Delaware’s water resources such as recycling’s impact on clean waterways, a wetland walk and a wave tank. From singing sea shanties to partaking in the “Incredible Journey: The Water Cycle” students were submersed in all forms water.

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin inspects mosquito larvae at one of the stations.
DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin inspects mosquito larvae at one of the stations. DNREC photo.

“Make a Splash is a great opportunity for students to connect what they are learning in their classrooms to what is happening in the environment,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “In experiencing those connections, it is our hope to inspire the next generation of Delaware’s water resource stewards.”

Students from Lighthouse Christian School, John Bassett Moore, Townsend, South Dover and Rehoboth elementary schools participated in the event.

“Bringing together natural and cultural resources is a win for Delaware,” said Tim Slavin, director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. “Special thanks to DNREC for their years-long partnership with HCA at Make-A-Splash.”

Fourth and fifth graders from schools statewide participate in fun and interactive water activities designed to educate students about the importance of water and water resources management.
Fourth and fifth graders from schools statewide participate in fun and interactive water activities designed to educate students about the importance of water and water resources management. DNREC photo.

Volunteers and presenters in this year’s event included the DNREC Divisions of Climate, Coastal and Energy, Parks and Recreation, Water, Fish and Wildlife, Watershed Stewardship and Waste and Hazardous Substances, as well as representatives from John Dickinson Plantation,

the New Castle County Conservation District, University of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Agriculture Delaware Forest Service.

The event is organized by a steering committee represented by DNERR, John Dickinson Plantation, National Park Service, City of Dover, and DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship and Division of Parks and Recreation.

 

 

 

 

 

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov

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