Envirothon is a natural resource based education program that was started in 1992 by the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
High School Students work in teams led by a teacher/advisor. During the school year, teams receive curriculum materials and are invited to a series of training workshops in the Envirothon Study Areas of Soils, Aquatics, Wildlife, Forestry and a Current Environmental Issue. These workshops are presented by foresters, soil scientists, aquatic ecologists, wildlife biologists, and many others. Students really benefit from meeting people working in a broad range of environmental careers. Teachers also benefit and find the program a wonderful source of networking and professional growth for their own careers.
Envirothon Team members may come from a Science Class, a Vocational Agricultural program or an after school club. Teams are also encouraged to get involved in some kind of environmental service project in their local communities such as building trails, planting trees or river buffers or restoring wildlife habitats.
In May, teams meet for a fun filled all day field competition at a park, camp or nature preserve. They are challenged to work together to answer questions and conduct hands-on investigations. Each team also prepares a short oral presentation on a real life environmental problem that is presented to the teams each year as a Current Issue. The current issue is an environmental problem related to the national Envirothon challenge. Each team considers the problem and develops a solution, which is presented before a panel of experts as part of the field competition activities. Rubrics for judging the quality of the presentation are explained in the Oral Presentation section of the Envirothon web page.
The day also includes a picnic lunch, time to meet new friends, and an awards ceremony. The winning team earns the chance to represent Connecticut at the North American Envirothon, a weeklong event held at a college campus in the summer. They compete with about 60 teams from across the USA and Canada for scholarships and other prizes.
Many Envirothon Alumni go on to further study leading to environmental careers and are eligible for special scholarships. We hope they become environmentally aware adults with a real dedication to stewardship of our precious natural resources.