Conservation Matters August 2018

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

FFA students speak about watersheds at the 90th Texas FFA Convention

FFA students speak about watersheds at the 90th Texas FFA Convention

Three FFA students from different areas in Texas took home the top honors for their speeches about watersheds at the Soil Stewardship Public Speaking Contest in July.

The topic of this year’s contest was “Watersheds-Our Water, Our Home,” and the contest took place at the 90th Texas FFA State Convention in Fort Worth July 9-13.

“The basic objectives of this year’s Soil Stewardship Public Speaking Contest were to engage students to demonstrate knowledge on how good watershed management contributes to the environmental and economic health of local communities as well as how soil and water conservation practices contribute to water quality and quantity,” said Volney Hough, president of the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts, in a Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) news release. The association sponsors the scholarship funds for the top winners of the contest.

Three winners were chosen from 20 participants who had to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of good watershed stewardship, including current conservation efforts, through research and consultation with local soil and water conservation districts.

The first place winner, Kylar Pepper of Klondike FFA, earned a $3,000 scholarship and spoke about population growth in the state and the effects to water.

“As our population increases, human demands for water will grow…decisions made now will have far reaching consequences for our state,” Pepper said during the contest.                      

The second place winner, Kameryn Mathis of Haskell FFA, earned a $2,000 scholarship and spoke on how community actions can affect water environments.

“Clean, healthy watersheds depend on an informed public to make the right decisions,” Mathis said during her speech.

The third place winner, Caitlyn Muckensturm of Krum FFA, earned a $1,000 scholarship. She spoke about the major functions of the watershed and how they impact water quality.

“Water quality can become impaired from a variety of contaminants originating from homes, agriculture and wildlife, which in turn can be harmful to public health,” Muckensturm explained during her speech.

Hough said these students are ambassadors for the soil and water conservation district program and can serve as a bridge between agriculture and the public.  

“Through this speech contest we try to support agricultural education by providing a means through which students can develop leadership skills and real-world awareness to accurately speak about renewable natural resources issues and how to address them,” said Jose Dodier Jr., TSSWCB chairman. “Furthermore, the program gives the student a better vision of the future of agriculture and how agriculture benefits the state and nation’s society as a whole.”

The contest is sponsored by TSSWCB and Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts in cooperation with the Texas FFA Association.

The original story from TSSWCB can be found here

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