If you are a teenager who is wild about nature and the great outdoors, consider joining your school's Envirothon team. Envirothon is a fun and exciting way for high school students in grades 9-12 to learn about the natural world around us and earn scholarship money for college. As an Envirothon team member, you will learn first hand from the experts about the many ways that all living things are connected and the complex environmental issues effecting the world today. Along the way, you'll quickly discover that nature is even more outrageous and spectacular than you ever imagined.
The Envirothon is a series of environmental competitions in which teams of students move beyond the classroom in order to solve real-life environmental problems in a natural setting. Envirothon works like a sports meet - winning teams progress through local, state, and international competitions. As a member of an Envirothon team, you'll be asked to roll up your sleeves and get up close and personal with nature in the following disciplines:
- Wildlife - You'll learn first hand from wildlife managers about animal populations and dynamics in Maryland and the importance of preserving wildlife habitat.
- Forestry - Maryland foresters will teach you how to identify tree species and determine a tree's height and age. You'll also learn management techniques for healthy and productive forestry resources.
- Soils - You'll work alongside soil scientists to learn about profiling and mapping techniques used to determine soil characteristics for farming and developing activities.
- Aquatics - You'll explore complex under-water ecosystems with marine and freshwater biologists. You'll also learn how wetlands and buffers contribute to healthy streams.
- Environmental Issues (aka Current Issue or 5th Topic) - What is a watershed? How can we save farmland from development? What happens when you fill in a wetland? These are some of the environmental issues that students have explored in the past. Learn about previous topics.
The Envirothon teams are tested in each of the five (5) natural resource areas. Each test has been prepared to be as "hands-on" as possible and covers information distributed as part of the Maryland Envirothon website, as well as any information provided during the many activities at the state event. Each test has a total score of 100 points. These scores are then added to the teams oral presentation score to determine the overall winner.
The oral presentation is directly related to the current or 5th issue. The teams are presented a "problem" which they must develop a solution for, and present in front of a panel of judges. The teams "solution" should be scientifically based and supported by current levels of technology.
The test scores and the presentation score are weighted evenly and are worth 1/6 of the total combined score. The team with the highest cumulative score is declared the Envirothon Winner.
Envirothon teams are made up of five (5) students, one (1) alternate and a teacher/advisor. Teams form in the fall and study Maryland's natural resources over the course of the school year. The first wave of competitions begins in the spring with local teams competing for the county Envirothon title. The county winner advances to the statewide Maryland Envirothon. This 2 day competition is usually held in June at an outdoor environmental education center and features a number of outdoor activities including night hikes, campfire chats, and wildlife demonstrations, along with additional training in all five (5) resource areas.
The winner of the Maryland Envirothon earns the right to represent the state at the North American Envirothon - an exciting five (5) day competition featuring 50 winning high school teams from across the United States and Canada. In recent years, Maryland Envirothon teams have traveled to locations in Arizona, North Carolina, California, New Brunswick and Pennsylvania(for the 25th Anniversary) to compete at the international level.
There are several ways to get started. You can contact your school's science department or your local soil conservation district to see if a program exists in your school. If a program does not exist, then your local soil conservation district can help you get one started! Youth groups and other teen organizations can form teams also.
Download Envirothon Brochure