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Purple Turtles second in Eagle Point Eco-Meet
Purple Turtle
Members of the Belmont Purple Turtles homeschool team are (from left) Bodhi Logueflower, fifth grade, Mineral Point; team captain, Panka McGuire, fourth grade, Belmont; Rita Wilson, fifth grade, Linden; and Sophia Paulus, fourth grade, Fennimore.

On May 10, fourth- and fifth-grade students competed in the 22nd annual Mississippi River Ecology Meet at Eagle Point Park in Dubuque.

The Belmont Purple Turtles, an area home-schooled group created for this specific event, placed second, trailing first place Columbkille Catholic School of Dubuque by just 10 points.  Resurrection Catholic School of Dubuque took third place.

Twenty-one schools from Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin participated in this year’s event.

Each school was allowed one team of four students. Students were given four topics to study in advance: Forestry, Fish of the Mississippi, Native Americans Along the Mississippi, and Water Safety. On the day of the event, teams converged at Eagle Point Park for presentations on each topic by a local expert in the field. An individually taken written test was administered after each presentation and team point totals tallied.

This is the first year in Eco-Meet history that the Dubuque public schools did not attend. It was also the first year that home-schoolers were invited to participate. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rock Island host this event within their Mississippi River Project. It is currently the largest ecology meet held along the upper Mississippi River.