skip to main content skip to main navigation
Photo of winning MATES team - Click to enlarge
Will Represent NJ in National Contest

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(609) 633-2954

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced, for the third year in a row, students from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Sciences (MATES) in Manahawkin were the winners of the New Jersey Envirothon, held Saturday, May 5 at Girl Scout Camp Sacajawea in Farmingdale.

The team, consisting of Seniors James Geddis of Jackson, Alex Hascha of Brick, Kelsey Lardiere of Manahawkin, Michelle Predi of Barnegat Light, and Ryan Sullivan of Lacey, will represent New Jersey in the 2012 Canon Envirothon at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA in July.  These same students made up the winning Envirothon team last year.  They competed against 32 other teams on knowledge of natural resources-related topics, including soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology and a current environmental issue.  This year’s Envirothon theme was “Nonpoint Source Pollution/Low Impact Development.”

“Every student who participates in this valuable competition came away a winner for learning more about the environment, natural resources and science,” said Secretary Fisher.  “Our hope is that these high-achieving students continue to pursue this course of study and consider careers in agriculture and natural resources-related fields.”

Each of the MATES team members received $1,000 scholarships from the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts, $2,000 scholarships from Richard Stockton State College and $1,000 scholarships from Applied and Health Sciences at Kean University.  This is the third year on the winning team for Hascha, Predi, and Sullivan.

The MATES team was the first team ever to receive a perfect score on one of the Envirothon tests; they scored 100 for aquatics.  MATES also had a second team at the competition, which came in second place overall. 

“I was most impressed by the fact that we placed first and second for team presentation,” said Science Instructor/Team Advisor Adam Sprague.  “The team presentation requires students to orally communicate natural resource material while addressing environmental problems/issues, particularly in situations where collaborative efforts are required to develop practical solutions and effect change. For this year’s problem, students were ‘hired’ by the Woodbridge Township Redevelopment Agency to act as a planning consultant to develop a Green Business Park.  The students from both teams received many compliments at the conclusion of the Envirothon competition, one of which was from one of the city planners working on this actual project who requested the students come present their plan to the city council.”

“We are so proud of our students,” added MATES Science Instructor/Team Advisor David Werner.  “Their dedication and hard work has paid off for the third year in a row.  Our nine graduating members will be severely missed next year.”

The third-place team was Wayne Valley High School in Wayne.

The Envirothon is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, State Soil Conservation Committee; New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts; the 15 Soil Conservation Districts; United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; and Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

The 15 Soil Conservation Districts in New Jersey follow county boundaries and implement the New Jersey Soil and Sediment Control Act, which governs certain aspects of new development.  These semi-autonomous bodies are locally governed and play a strong role in the protection of New Jersey’s natural resources.