Raleigh, NC – On July 28-August 2, 2019, the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Envirothon Committee played host to the 2019 National Conservation Envirothon (NCF)-Envirothon on the campus of North Carolina State University. The event is an international competition challenging students to showcase their knowledge of environmental and natural resources management and draws the top high school teams from throughout the United States, Canada, and China. Teams are challenged with written tests and also provided a natural resources related problem in which they have to formulate a solution based on the competition’s theme. The 2019 theme representative of North Carolina’s agricultural diversity was “Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge and Technology to Feed the World.”
The 2019 competition consisted of 53 teams, with the team from Jamestown High School of Williamsburg, Virginia taking top honors. North Carolina’s team consisting of High Rock Home School students from Davidson County placed second. “An amazing array of talent was on display at this year’s NCF-Envirothon with teams from the United States, Canada, and China all demonstrating an impressive mastery of natural resources conservation management and agricultural technology” stated Rich Hayes North Carolina’s Envirothon Committee Chairman.
The top eight teams in this year’s competition were awarded with both monetary scholarships and prizes supported by multiple sponsors. Smithfield Foods, Inc. provided $30,000 that was awarded among the first, second, and third place teams, in addition to providing additional generous donations to support not only the NCF-Envirothon event, but also additional local and statewide events where teams must qualify in order to reach this high level of competition.
The top teams from the 2019 NCF-Envirothon were:
1st Place: Jamestown High School – Williamsburg, Va.
2nd Place: High Rock Home School – Davidson County, N.C.
3rd Place: Carmichaels Area High School – Carmichaels, Pa.
4th Place: The Mount Academy – Esopus, N.Y.
5th Place: Oxford High School – Oxford, Miss.
6th Place: Spartanburg High School – Spartanburg, S.C.
7th Place: Shanghai High School International Division (China Team #1) – Shanghai, China
8th Place: Paul Laurence Dunbar High School – Lexington, Ky.
During this busy week of competition, on Monday and Tuesday teams were trained and tested at NCSU’s field labs near campus. On Wednesday, teams were treated to a day of adventure traveling to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast to learn about North Carolina’s history and coastal ecology by touring Fort Macon State Park and visiting the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Thursday teams were presented with their natural resources problem to formulate a solution followed by presentations to panels of judges on Friday just before the awards ceremony where the top eight teams were named. In addition to the overall top eight teams, the Don and Mary Spickler Oral Presentation Award was presented to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School from Lexington, Kentucky for receiving the highest score on their oral presentation. Greater than 600 students, advisors and volunteers were in attendance during this week long event.
What has now grown to become the NCF-Envirothon reaching more than 500,000 students nationwide started in 1979 as a project of Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation Districts. In 1990
North Carolina joined the Envirothon effort as a resource to expand students’ knowledge in the areas of soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife, and current environmental issues. The competition serves as a powerful tool for students to exercise knowledge of natural resources management while forming connections with professionals in areas with promising future careers. While Envirothon teams are coached by dedicated teachers, Soil and Water Conservation District staff statewide along with partnering sponsors work to organize and facilitate competitions from the local to state and now international levels.
The 2019 NCF-Envirothon was made possible by sponsors such as USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, Smithfield Foods, Wrangler, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Weyerhaeuser, the Resource Institute and Partners, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Water and Water Conservation Society. For a complete listing of sponsors visit: https://sites.google.com/site/envirothonnc/2019-na-envirothon/partners-sponsorships .
The 2020 NCF-Envirothon will be held July 26-August 1 in Lincoln, Nebraska at the University of Nebraska where the world’s top natural resources students will be tested on the 2020 theme of “Water Resources Management: Local Control and Local Solutions.” For more information on how to become involved with the Envirothon program contact the Harnett Soil and Water Conservation District at 910-893-7584.