TWRA Receives Southeastern RC&D Supporting Organization Award

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received
the award for Outstanding Supporting Organization in the
Southeastern Resources, Conservation, and Development (RC&D)
region which consists of nine states.

TWRA has provided assistance with a number of projects through
Tennessee’s individual RC&D councils. However, the focus of the
award is for the Agency’s enduring assistance with the Tennessee
Envirothon which has been a state wide project since 1994 and began
as an individual council project in 1993.

The Tennessee Envirothon is the qualifying event for a team of
students to represent the state in the Canon North American
Envirothon which is sponsored by the Canon Corporation. The event
is the largest environmentally based competition for high school
students in the United States and Canada.

The Envirothon competition covers five areas of subject matter;
Soils, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatics and a “Current Issue” which
changes on an annual basis. Representatives from TWRA are directly
involved with the planning and implementation of each event hosted
by the 10 RC&D areas of Tennessee and two applicant areas as
well as the state level competition, which is hosted by the
Tennessee RC&D Council.

More than 60 high schools currently participate and at least 590
students are involved annually. Many of the teachers involved with
the competition have incorporated much of the Envirothon
educational materials with their educational curriculum, which
reach out to an undetermined large number of students
statewide.

The TWRA develops study guide material which is posted on the
Tennessee RC&D Web site for schools to utilize and prepare for
the individual council competitions. TWRA also provides test
materials to be utilized for the individual council competitions as
well as the state level.

Beginning in the fall of each year an Envirothon Committee
convenes to discuss goals and program changes for the upcoming
spring competitions. A TWRA representative, currently Donald Hosse
(Outdoor Education Program Director), participates in the planning
process and development of study guide and test materials. He also
provides assistance with the council and state events with test
administration.

In addition to this technical support, TWRA has consistently
provided financial support on an annual basis by purchasing event
T-shirts which are presented to team members, coaches and event
volunteers. Other TWRA representatives also provide assistance with
team coaching and assistance with individual RC&D Council
events.

With the ongoing commitment of TWRA and its direct assistance
with the development and promotion of the Envirothon competition,
the Tennessee RC&D Council has achieved an ever increasing
capacity to expose socially and economically disadvantaged students
to environmental issues. This has been particularly beneficial in
rural areas across the state and has helped to introduce many
students to possible educational and career paths that address
environmental sciences. The Envirothon program has achieved an
overall increase in participation statewide due in part to
involvement by TWRA. A consistent increase in participation by
female and minority students has resulted in significant diversity
in recent years.

The strong relationship which has been fostered through the TWRA
and RC&D partnership in the Envirothon has also made a number
of other localized projects possible within many of the states
RC&D areas. Many of these other projects have been more
recreational in nature and available to the general public and
usually included some level of environmental educational
awareness.

In addition to the Envirothon, TWRA has been an excellent source
of information to the RC&D councils within Tennessee which has
been helpful in developing a number of projects that involve
impacts to wildlife and/or recreational activities.

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