Springtime is busy at any soil and water conservation district in Ohio, with tree sales, drill rentals, technical calls for drainage assistance and school programs. Another spring project that we enjoy is helping local high school students prepare for the area and state Envirothon program.
Ohio hosts five area envirothon competitions around the state in late April or early May. High school students in grades 9-12 are eligible to participate. The Envirothon competition is designed to stimulate, reinforce and enhance interest in the environment and natural resources.
The Envirothon also encourages cooperative decision making and team building. While each student on the team is challenged to contribute his or her personal best, the score that counts at the end of the competition is the team score.
A team consists of five students from the same high school; an adult adviser must accompany the team but is not permitted to assist the team during competition. The Envirothon tests students’ knowledge of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology and current environmental issues.
Test questions for the Envirothon are prepared by natural resource professionals from a variety of agencies, organizations, universities and businesses. These individuals also staff the various resource stations at each competition.
The top four high scoring teams from each area competition earn the opportunity to compete at the Ohio Envirothon, a three-day event that incorporates field testing and a team presentation requirement that further challenges the students.
The Ohio Envirothon is held in different parts of the state each year and Cedarville University will host this year’s event, June 10-12. These top 100 students from across the state will compete to be the Ohio Envirothon champion.
This champion team will then have the honor of competing at the National Envirothon, July 22-28 at Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho.
Why should this matter to you? It matters because this Envirothon student may be a future leader in your community. During my 29 years with soil and water, this program and working with these students has been a highpoint of my career.
How satisfying it has been to see past Envirothon students become teachers, firefighters, farmers, small business owners, wastewater plant operators and soil and water conservation district employees.
Little did I know that when I helped host the Area 3 Envirothon in 1996, one of the students participating would become my SWCD board chairman. The Envirothon program offers young people the opportunity to get outside and learn accurate information about natural resource issues of our time.
Youth and adult education is an important part of local Soil and Water Conservation District programs and the Envirothon program is one of our best. Contact your local SWCD if you are interested in learning more about this program.
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