PIKE & WAYNE - The 2014 Pike/Wayne Envirothon was won by the Wallenpaupack Area School District team called the Wallenpaupack Walleyes, second place went to The Avengers from Wallenpaupack and third went to the Canaan Christian Creationists of Canaan Christian Academy.
    The 28th Annual Pike/Wayne Envirothon was held Wednesday, May 1, 2014 at the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center near Hawley with a day of competition and a visit from Calkins Creamery.
        The 1st place Wallenpaupack team will represent Pike County at the State Envirothon event at Susquehanna University and PPL Montour Preserve on May 20 and 21. The highest scoring team for Wayne County, Canaan Christian Academy’s Canaan Christian Creationist’s, will represent Wayne County at the State event.
      This one-day educational competition is designed to test the knowledge, skills and problem solving capabilities of high school students regarding our earth’s natural resources. Canaan Christian Academy, Delaware Valley, Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack, and Western Wayne High Schools competed in this year’s event. Five-member teams competed by applying their knowledge and problem-solving skills in subject areas that included: Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils/Land Use, Wildlife, and a Current Issue which was Sustainable Agriculture/Buying Locally.
        This year’s event also included an opportunity for students to get up close and personal to some wildlife. During lunch, the Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Officers demonstrated to students how they process a tranquilized bear. The bear was processed which entailed tagging the ears and extracting a tooth of the bear. The tooth is pulled and will be sent to a lab to determine the age the bear. They also tattoo the bear on the inside of the bears lip for tracking purposes.
        At the end of the day’s competition there was a presentation by Emily Montgomery, daughter of Bill and Debra Bryant, of Calkins Creamery. Emily explained the cheese making process, how they market their products within the tri-state area, and provided some cheese samples to students. Calkins Creamery sits on Highland Farm, a seventh-generation family farm in scenic Wayne County which launched production of artisanal cheeses in January 2007. Emily explained to students that they use fresh raw milk from the herd of ninety Holstein cows her father and brothers milk twice a day. The milk is delivered through an underground gravity-flow pipeline directly from the bulk tank in the barn to a vat in the creamery.         This unique system allows the milk to remain free from contaminants and minimizes waste.
    Emily also shared with the students how they market the creamery through a website, e-newsletter, and innovative outreach efforts. The cheese is sold in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C., in small markets, farm markets, and in many Whole Foods retail stores from Pike to Allegheny counties.
        The Pike/Wayne Envirothon and Pennsylvania Envirothon partner with the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource Bureaus of Forestry and State Parks, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to bring this competition to students each year. These committed partners provide educational reference materials for high school teams as well as technical expertise, knowledge, and manpower at the event.
    Each year both Pike and Wayne Conservation Districts seek financial contributions to support this highly successful youth conservation program. Donations support the purchase of Envirothon T-shirts, educational prizes and awards, lunch and an ice cream bar. This year’s sponsors include the Pennsylvania’s Trappers Association, Professional Forest Industry Association, Dutch’s Supermarket, Wallenpaupack Veterinary Clinic, Davis R. Chant Realtors, Woodloch Pines, PPL Inc., Honesdale National Bank, Dime Bank, Elegante’s Restaurant, Wayne Bank, Honesdale Farm & Garden (Agway), Inc., Natures Grace Health Foods & Deli, Dirlam Brothers Lumber Company, Pennsylvania Envirothon, and Yatsonsky’s Farm.
      The Pike/Wayne Envirothon is coordinated by the Pike and Wayne County Conservation Districts. To find out more about the Envirothon please contact the Pike County Conservation District office at 570-226-8220 or the Wayne Conservation District at 570-253-0930.