More than 200 high school and middle school students from an eleven-county area gather at Elon University, (Elon, NC) each spring to gain some hands-on environmental experience as a part of an Area Envirothon.
Students from Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Orange, Person, Randolph, and Rockingham Counties come together in school-sponsored teams of five to both study and test their knowledge of the natural world.
During the regular school year, participants study environmental issues such as soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and current environmental issues. In March, teams participate in an area competition. The top seven teams in high school and middle school move on to the state Envirothon competition that is held in April at Cedarock Park in Burlington. The first place winner in the state competition then moves on to the North American Canon Envirothon competition against teams from across the United States and Canada.
Advisors stated they “like the Envirothon because it gives students a chance to experience and learn about things they may not have a chance to do in a normal classroom setting.” During the competition, students skills and knowledge is tested by asking them to identify animal tracks, examine various soil samples and the layers of soil, measure the height of trees and identify leaves, study the critters that live in the streams, plus many other environmental issues. Students rotate in the morning to 30-minute resource study sessions. In the afternoon, students are tested on the subject matter. Scores are totaled in each of the 5-study areas and the seven (7) middle and high school teams scoring the highest overall win trophies, medallions, and certificates. They advance to the state competition. The teams scoring the highest in each of the individual categories are awarded trophies and ribbons.
The Envirothon is a way of learning about our natural resources – the natural things that are around us that we seldom stop to think about. Many of the students who participate in the Envirothon competition plan to follow a career path that leads them into something to do with the environment. Soil Scientists, Engineers, Environmental Law, Agronomy, Animal Science – these are a few of the unlimited choices available to students. The Envirothon program has been active in North Carolina since 1991 and is open to all students Grades 6-8 & 9-12.
For more information on how to become involved with the Envirothon program, contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District, 525 NC 65, Suite 100, or 336-342-8230 or go online to