Ask a Ranger: Students compete in 25th Ecology Meet

May. 03, 2014 @ 11:12 PM

Each year, state and Virginia middle and high schools near Kerr Lake are invited to participate in an Ecology Meet, an eight-station competition that tests youths’ minds on various aspects of the environment.

The stations examine soil ecology, wildlife, hydrology, herpetology, aquatics, endangered species, forestry and everyone’s favorite: environmental education interpretation.

Participating students spend months studying, researching and preparing for this event, which is also a collective effort for the local organizations from our state and Virginia that participate as facilitators.

They are Virginia Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, park rangers and foresters, Virginia Forestry, Virginia Soils, and state park rangers. 

Each station tests young people in different ways from “Endangered Species Jeopardy” to “Tree ID” and written tests.

Participants challenge themselves and each other to see who can earn top points at each station.

The highlight for both facilitators and participants is the environmental education interpretation. This portion of the meet is where research and education meet creativity, and students must create an original program on the assigned topic.

This year’s topics regarded the history of the Kerr Lake Project; migration and hydrology; river basins, reservoirs and water quality.

The students wowed the judge and the audience with costumes, great story lines and enthusiasm.

Although waffling weather systems in the area forced some schools to cancel, five schools still braved the elements to attend.

The participating schools were Henderson Collegiate, Northern Granville Middle School, Granville Early College and Halifax middle and high schools. 

The students, facilitators and teachers all said they had wonderful times and will be excited to come back next year to battle it out at Kerr Lake State Recreation Area for another Ecology Meet showdown.

The six facilitating organizations know that this is a great event, to which they welcome all local, middle and high schools — so they hope to see even more schools participate next year!

Local programming for this month can be found at ncparks.gov. 

Send Kerr Lake questions to park ranger Jessica Williams at jessica.b.williams@ncparks.gov.