Cardozo finalists in eco competition

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A group of five students from Cardozo High School showed off their knowledge of all things "green" at the citywide Envirothon environmental competition earlier this month.

The group, which consisted of students Nicholas Leafe, Sangmin Pak, Jennifer Sun, Michael Lerner and Richard Ha, were tested in five areas of environmental science, including soil, water, forestry, wildlife and land use management and beat out other Queens schools to advance to the state level of the competition next month. The competition was held at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn April 11.

The students were selected for the team from Janice Donoghue's A.P. Environmental Science class. Donoghue, the team's adviser and a Cardoza science teacher, and her team spent about five months preparing for the competition.

"It's a different way of learning about the environment," she said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to be outside and working with animals and creatures."

In fact, as part of their preparation, the students were able to work with the New York City Soil and Water Conservation District.

The competition was a chance for Cardoza senior Jennifer Sun, 18, to test out her future in environmental science. As part of the competition, the team had to make a 10-minute presentation and act like environmentalists and other officials making a decision over a certain land use issue.

Sun was able to see what it is like to be an environmentalist in "real life," she said.

"My job [was to] examine the benefit between the environment and the public benefit," she said.

In all, the competition was an opportunity to see what it takes to be green.

"Some of what's going on about being green has become almost a fad and I think people don't truly understand how important living sustainably is," Donoghue said, "and unless people really understand, it's going to be gone with the next fad."

The team will be one of five city teams to advance to the state level of the competition, which will be held at State University of New York in Cobleskill May 21 and 22.

Reach reporter Katy Gagnon by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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