Van Buren Team Takes First at Envirothon Regional Competition

Caidance Schultz, 8th grade Homeschooler; Carey Towne, 7th grader at Paw Paw Middle School; Meredith Overacker, 12th grade at Paw Paw High School; Blake Towne, 7th grader at Paw Paw Middle School; Amanda Towne – 7th grader at Paw Paw Middle School and Kathleen Leftwich – 10th grader at Gobles High School.

Van Buren Team Takes First at Envirothon Regional Competition

Congratulations are in order for the Van Buren Voyagers on their First Place victory in the Region 4 Envirothon Competition last Monday at Ft. Custer Learning Center. The team, made up of students in 7th-12th grade from around Van Buren County, competed against 9 other teams from the surrounding area in five topic areas: Agriculture, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatic Ecology, and Energy. The team is moving on to the State level competition in May, and are eager to head North to compete against other Michigan students.

“Envirothon is a great program to get kids in the natural resource field” says AJ Brucks, Executive Director of the Van Buren Conservation District, “We were excited to partner with the Van Buren 4-H Voyager’s to host a team this year, and it’s stealer that all their hard work paid off.” Envirothon is a nation-wide program hosted by the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts to “develop knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated citizens who have an understanding of natural resources”. Students learn not only how and why to identify trees and animals, but also how forestry professionals use this information to manage forest lands, and how farmers can make our soils and waters healthier. “Envirothon is about letting students learn for themselves just how we can work together to protect our natural resources.”

The team must also complete an outreach project to be presented at the state competition. This year, the Envirothon team is joining up with other kids in the Voyagers 4-H program to help host O.A.K.S., an outdoor adventure program for kids with special needs. Both groups share a common understanding: that getting outdoors let us better understand and grow with our environment.

With the state competition quickly coming up, the team will keep studying throughout April and May to prepare. Before heading north, they’ll develop a presentation on their service project, brush up on the original five categories, and learn about this year’s national current issue, which focuses on rangelands. Wish our Van Buren Voyagers luck as they work to take home first again!

Do you have a student that would be interested in joining the Envirothon program? A teacher that would like to work to create a school team? Contact the Van Buren Conservation District to create a team for 2019 at 269-657-4030x5 or contact AJ Brucks at If you are interested in more information about the Van Buren 4-H Voyager’s please contact Denise Noble at

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