Every year, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) hosts its Envirothon program to educate students about the environment and conservation of natural resources through hands-on outdoor experiences, academic study and collaborative competitions. More than 25,000 students participate annually, hailing from the U.S., Canada and China. These students represent the next generation of concerned landowners and stewards.

The NCF works side by side with the National Association of Conservation Districts to achieve these educational goals. Leadership from the Envirothon group met during the NACD’s annual meeting in New Orleans this spring. They were excited about this year’s Envirothon championships taking place in New Brunswick. The 2024 event will be in New York State. They are currently looking for a site to host in 2025.

Envirothon leadership also has empty seats on its Operating Committee and a vacancy for its Northeast seat that need filling. If interested in learning more about them, reach out to Jennifer Brooks, NCF-Envirothon program manager.

Participation – both from volunteering adults and interested students – is crucial for the future of conservation in this country, according to Brooks.

“Environmental and natural resources include soil science, soil health, forestry management – what landowners have to think about every day,” Brooks said. “This program is teaching these students the skills, and they’ll have those skills to identify stream quality or pesticide drift. Whether they go into a natural resources field or become landowners or farmers or just voting citizens, it teaches them to evaluate all sides of these issues.”

She added that landowners and farmers especially should care about conservation because of the financial opportunities that come along with it (specifically through programs from the USDA) from implementing best management practices.

In different states, high school Envirothon teams are often FFA teams too. They can partner for Career Development Events (CDEs) – including in Brooks’s home state of North Carolina.

“It takes a passionate person to help programs grow,” Brooks said. “We can all learn what others are doing and bring it back home. We can all adopt other helpful policies. You just need to support your state committee and volunteer.”

For more information on Envirothon, visit Envirothon.org.

by Courtney Llewellyn