Teams of high school students from 67 counties are expected to participate in the two-day Pennsylvania Envirothon on May 23 and 24 at University of Pittsburgh Johnstown. They will learn about soils, wildlife, aquatic ecology, forestry, and this year’s current issue: Agriculture Soil & Water Conservation Stewardship. Students will be looking at the short and long term impacts on the natural environment and how each may influence or directly impact their future.
Every year, about 15,000 Pennsylvania teenagers enrolled in high school grades 9–12 compete in county level competitions (a one day competition event) for the chance to go to the State Envirothon. These 5-member teams are led by volunteer advisors and teachers who train the teens in hands-on environmental problem-solving in the classroom, after school, or during weekends. Envirothon is designed to help educators and students move beyond the classroom into the outdoors, preparing them to deliver oral presentations and complete written exams, which include hands-on experiences. These exams are developed by soil scientists, aquatic biologists, foresters, wildlife managers and natural resource professionals. In addition to bragging rights, teams that make it to the State Envirothon vie to win over $10,000 in scholarships, prizes and awards.
This year’s competition marks the 34th Anniversary of the State Envirothon. Bill Kahler, who has been involved with the program since its inception, is impressed with how the Envirothon has grown, and how it has positively impacted participants. “From being involved with the Envirothon since the beginning, it is very fulfilling to see the program not only grow but to see where the participants have gone in their careers and how it has positively affected them.” Kahler currently serves as the Chairman of the PA Envirothon Board of Directors.
The Envirothon, the largest North American natural resource competition for high school students, is an on-going partnership between conservation districts and cooperating county, state, and federal natural resource agencies. The program boasts the successful history of providing hands-on environmental and natural resource management education and empowering young people with the competencies and motivation vital to achieving and maintaining a natural balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment.
Each year the Envirothon touches and positively influences the lives of more than 15,000 young people across Pennsylvania and more than 500,000 across North America. Thanks to dedicated volunteers, staff of cooperating agencies, teachers and advisors, enthusiastic students, and valuable support and sponsorship from organizations like PA Department of Agriculture, PA Department of Education, PA Department of Environmental Protection, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA Game Commission, U.S.D.A. Natural Resource Conservation Service, PA Sea Grant and many others, the Envirothon has proven to be an exciting and useful tool for incorporating natural resource education into high school classrooms. The program also receives financial sponsorships from environmental conscientious corporations such as Shell, PPL, Weis, Chief Oil & Gas, SWN, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, EQT Foundation and Friends of the Envirothon, which enables us to provide various educational tools and resources to almost 700 high schools.
For more information on Envirothon:
Lorelle Steach, PA Envirothon 814-623-7900 ext. 111