Where are they now? ... Ryan Ling, Pennsylvania
District Forester – Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
When people ask me why I chose a career in forestry, I always answer without hesitation the same two reasons, “Scouting and the Envirothon.” Like most rural Pennsylvania kids, I spent most of my time as a youth with my brother and friends fishing, playing sports, participating in scouting, climbing trees and doing all the things little boys do while exploring the great outdoors. As I entered high school I still spent much of my free time outdoors playing sports, hunting and fishing. So when some of my friends floated the idea of having an Envirothon team at West Branch Area High School, I was absolutely on board. I didn’t know at that time what an Envirothon was, but anything that was outdoors and a competition was something I could get behind. So we studied and prepared our team; The Environ-Mentals, for the Clearfield County Envirothon."
Erin Hines North Carolina Envirothon Alumni
Erin Hines grew up in Envirothon, participating throughout middle school and high school in the North Carolina (NC) Envirothon competition (NC holds a middle school Envirothon in addition to the high school program). Her team’s commitment and drive led them to winning the state championship three times, earning them the chance to compete in three NCF-Envirothon international annual competitions. “The scholarship money we earned from the competitions supported us in our educational pursuits beyond high school. Five of us received full scholarships to NC State University, and all but one of us chose natural resource careers including environmental studies, biological and agricultural engineering, soil science, geology, and parks and recreation. All of us have said Envirothon was a major influence in our choices.”
Today, Erin is an Environmental Educator for the Gaston County Soil and Water Conservation District, serves on the NC Envirothon committee and has this to say about the Envirothon, “As a program, Envirothon has what it takes to be extremely effective in influencing adult environmentalism, including extended duration, adult mentors, and time in nature. So here I am, throwing my weight behind this exceptional educational experience, and thanking all who make it possible.”