Ontario Envirothon Profile Alumni Profile: Robert Monico
Posted: March 14, 2019
The Ontario Envirothon program helps to prepare students for post-secondary education and careers in the environmental sciences, and refines their interpersonal and teamwork skills. More than that, though, it touches the lives of its participants—fueling a passion for the environment and sparking friendships.
In this series, a number of Envirothon alumni will be profiled to give potential participants a window into the program and its benefits.
Robert Monico is the Sutherland Campus Sustainability Projects Coordinator for Fleming College… and a former Ontario Envirothon competitor.
Robert participated in Envirothon from 2009 to 2011, and credits the program with teaching him professional presentation skills. Robert continues to support the program today as a Regional Coordinator.
When did you become interested in science?
I got interested in the natural sciences at an early age. I was a member of Scouts Canada, and as part of that I participated in a tree plant that inspired me to learn more about the environment and the role of humans as stewards.
How did you get involved with Envirothon?
I got involved with Envirothon through the Environment Program at St. James Catholic High School in Guelph, Ontario. The program encouraged us to participate in Envirothon to test what we had learned, and also so that we could network with environmental professionals.
Did you enjoy your Envirothon experience?
My experience competing was fantastic! I found myself becoming more engaged with environmental science and I was able to utilize my networking skills with experts in the industry. I was also able to connect with peers who had similar interests. Even though my team never
won, we had a great time every year!
What is something you will never forget from Envirothon?
I’ll always remember the excitement I felt during the presentations. I remember the anticipation my team and I felt before we presented to a panel of judges made up of industry experts. We were held to a professional standard and they asked questions that required us to give intelligent and thought-out responses.
Are there any skills you’ve learned through Envirothon that you use in your current career?
Oh, definitely! I consistently use the formal presentation skills I learned; I’m comfortable speaking in front of large audiences thanks to my Envirothon experiences. Nowadays the ‘judges’ aren’t giving me scores, but they still ask tough questions that require intelligent responses. In my opinion, in order to be successful in the environmental sector you need to be able to speak well, and that’s why that’s why I feel that the presentation component of Envirothon is one of the most important.
I am currently the Chair of the Peterborough/Kawarthas/Northumberland Regional Envirothon Steering Committee. I work with the other committee members to ensure that each participant from the region has a successful experience.
I also assisted in recruiting volunteers for the 2016 North American Championships. I attribute my success with that to my ability to convey my genuine excitement for the program!