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The Envirothon is back: Local environmental education event set for April

Envirothon
A local Envirothon team test its knowledge in soil texture and color in a past Envirothon. Photo courtesy Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District.

After two years of going virtual, the annual Envirothon is returning to an in-person competition, and the students excited about getting back at it.

This year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6th for the high school program, and for the first time ever, a new Middle School Envirothon will be held on Thursday, April 7.

Teams from Fort Defiance High School, Wilson Memorial High School, Kate Collins Middle School, Beverley Manor Middle School and S.G. Stewart Middle School have been busy studying and preparing for several months. Both days of this popular environmental learning competition will be held at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro.

The Envirothon program started in 1979, as a way to encourage high school students to become interested in natural resource conservation, environmental issues and careers. Back then it was called the “Environmental Olympics.” It was then shortened to “Enviro-Olympics,” and eventually became known as the Envirothon, and by 1988, the National Envirothon was born, with competing teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts.

Today, all 50 states have Envirothon programs and the National Envirothon also includes teams from Canada and China! It’s come a long way in 42 years…including right here in our own backyard!

Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District has been hosting a local Envirothon for many years. The top three teams from the local high school event can move on to compete at the area Envirothon, and then possibly, on to the Dominion Energy Envirothon-Virginia’s State Envirothon.

The winner represents Virginia at the NCF-National Envirothon in June. High school students in grades 9-12 and grades 6-8 are tested in their knowledge of five stations: Aquatics, Wildlife, Soils/Land Use, Forestry and Current Environmental Issues. The 2022 issue is Waste to Resources. The high school teams also have a sixth station where they deliver an oral presentation to a panel of judges based on a given scenario.

Since its beginnings, hundreds of thousands of students have participated in the Envirothon. Alumni can be found across the world, working in successful environmental careers such as forest rangers, climate scientists, biologists, conservationists and many more-all thanks to the Envirothon.

Virginia’s Envirothon program is sponsored by Dominion Energy, and coordinated by the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts.


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