Mineral County Future Farmers of America Team Wins 2021 WV Envirothon

The Mineral County Future Farmers of America (FFA) team won the 2021 West Virginia Envirothon, and were named as this year’s winners on Friday afternoon during an awards ceremony that was hosted at Stonewall Resort and reached teams throughout the state virtually.

Mineral’s team of five high school students competed against nine other teams to win this year’s event, which is the state’s premiere conservation competition for high school students.

Led by Mineral County FFA Adviser Julie Sions, the team includes students John Bittinger, Lara Bittinger, Rachael Brinkman, Robby Moncrief and Sarah Sions.

Five-member teams who participate in the Envirothon explore current environmental and earth sciences within the framework of five disciplines: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current environmental topic known as the “fifth topic.” This year’s fifth topic was “Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions.”

For the first year ever, Envirothon moved from a hands-on competition to a virtual format to administer the testing. Teams took the tests at their schools in most cases on April 15th and 16th and also submitted videos for the fifth topic, which has traditionally been performed live in front of a panel of judges.

The Mineral County FFA team shares a $5,000 scholarship and will move on to participate in the 2021 NCF-Envirothon national competition, which will also be virtual this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held July 25-28.

The other teams finishing in the top five were: Waterpennies, from Berkeley Springs High School in Morgan County, in second place; a team from Moorefield High School in Hardy County in third place; a Hampshire County team of home school students in fourth place; and the Braxton County FFA team in fifth place.

Teams also were rewarded for finishing with the top score in each of the five “stations,” including soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and the fifth topic. Mineral County FFA won aquatics, wildlife and shared the top fifth topic award with Clay FFA. The Hampshire team took the top score in soils and Braxton County FFA was best in forestry.

The Mavericks team from James Monroe High School won the Rookie Team Award for scoring the highest among new teams, while Mineral County FFA won the FFA Team Award for the highest-scoring FFA team.

In all, students, advisers and their schools received nearly $22,000 in scholarship money this year.

The other teams participating in the 2021 West Virginia Envirothon were: Magnolia FFA, Ritchie County FFA, and the Tyler Consolidated High School team.

The West Virginia Envirothon Committee hopes to return to a hands-on competition in 2022, at Cacapon Resort State Park in Morgan County.