HESSTON, Kan. — The 21st annual Kansas ECO-Meet State Finals competition was held at the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston earlier this month.
A total of almost $3,000 in scholarship money was awarded to the top high school competitors who participated in a series of quiz bowl-type competitions based on knowledge of Kansas plants and animals. Four events made up the 2019 state competition, including: a test on woodland ecosystems; specific groups of animals; a scavenger hunt where student teams look for plants found in the area and prove their identification skills; and an interpretative event that required teams to put together an informative, yet entertaining skit to relay their knowledge of animal/plant species to a team of judges and their peers.
More than 500 students participated in nine regional competitions in October to see who would be representing their regional meet at the state finals.
A total of 24 teams consisting of 90 students from 17 schools participated at the state level, with an additional six students who qualified as individuals. Schools represented included: Blue Valley North, Crest of Colony, Dodge City, Eisenhower of Goddard, Goddard, Goessel, Goodland, Haven, Inman, Lyons, Manhattan, Palco, Pike Valley, Pratt, Salina Central, Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission South, St. John’s of Beloit, St. Mary’s-Colgan of Pittsburg, Smoky Valley of Lindsborg, Stockton, Tescott and Wilson.
The competition proved to be an exciting, hard-fought contest, with the following results:
1st– Blue Valley North with members Laura Campbell, Todd Eubanks, Olivia Miller, Liam O’Leary and coach Chris Ollig. Each student received a $300 scholarship.
2nd– Manhattan with members Alex Andresen, Payton Day, Caden Hickel, Dominykus Metlevski and coach Noah Bush. Each student received a $200 scholarship.
3rd– St. Mary’s-Colgan, Team A with members Mary Grace Goetting, Anna Guilfoyle, Julia Kerr and coach Donna Maus. Each student received a $100 scholarship.
1st –Laura Campbell, Blue Valley North, received a $200 scholarship.
2nd– Todd Eubanks, Blue Valley North, received a $100 scholarship.
1st– Alex Andresen, Manhattan, received a $200 scholarship.
2nd– Carly Leal, Shawnee Mission South, received a $100 scholarship.
The 2019 ECO-Meet State Finals competition would not have been possible without the support of sponsors, which include Kansas Wildscape Foundation, Barton Community College, Chickadee Checkoff program, Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms, Friends of Milford Nature Center, Friends of Great Plains Nature Center, Hesston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kansas Herpetological Society, Kansas Ornithological Society, Kansas Native Plant Society, Lakewood Discovery Center and City of Salina, Manweiler Chevrolet, Kansas Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Riley County Conservation District, and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Education Section staff in Pratt.
Event assistance came the from K-State Extension, Kansas Forest Service, Great Plains Nature Center, Dillon Nature Center, Lakewood Discovery Center of Salina, Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Southeast Kansas Nature Center, Milford Nature Center, Pratt Education Center, Wilson State Park, and KDWPT Wildlife Division and Education Section staff in Pratt. Many other private citizens also volunteered their time, helping make this event a huge success.