North American Envirothon

Purpose Environmental competition
Headquarters League City, Texas[1]
Website envirothon.org
Formerly called
Environmental Olympics, Enviro-Olympics

NCF-Envirothon is an annual environmentally themed academic competition for high school aged students organized by the NCF-Envirothon a program of the National Conservation Foundation. The competition is held by the United States and Canada on a regional, state, and bi-national level. Envirothon combines in-class and hands-on environmental education[2] in a competition setting which involves a problem-solving presentation as well as written field tests. The competition tests students on five core subjects- aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife- along with a fifth annually-changing subtopic which focuses on relevant environmental issues. Currently, roughly 500,000 students from forty-five U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces/territories participate in the competition.[3]

States and provinces across the United States and Canada each have their own local competitions from which the winning high school team earns the privilege of representing their state/province at the NCF-Envirothon competition, held each summer in a different U.S. state or Canadian province. In areas with a considerable number of teams, subdivisions such as county, regional, or district competitions are also held. Teams must win these intermediary competitions in order to move on to the state/province levels.

Organizers and Sponsors

The NCF-Envirothon is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington,D.C. Coordinating the delivery of the North American competition, the organization also relies heavily on volunteers across North America to advise individual teams from each participating state and province.[4] Governing the program is the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Executive, along with a NCF-Evirothon Operating Committee which is made up of representatives from participating states and provinces.[5]

Envirothon is sponsored by the National Conservation Foundation, the National Association of Conservation Districts, the United States Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.[6] Individual teams are often sponsored by school clubs or classes, local businesses and governments, or 4H and other such non-scholastic organizations.[3]


Competition participants are generally teams of five students with one to two team advisers. Home-schoolers can also take part as their own team.

Training Session During the 2012 Envirothon Competition.[3]

States and provinces across the United States and Canada each have their own local competitions from which the winning high school team earns the privilege of representing their state/province at the North American Envirothon Competition, held each summer in a different U.S. state or Canadian province. In regions with a considerable number of teams, competitions on subdivision, county, regional, or district levels are also held. Teams must win these intermediary competitions in order to move on to the state/province levels. At the North American Competition, teams that rank first through tenth receive prizes and scholarships of various values.[3]

Competition week at the NCF-Envirothon level includes various workshops, field trips, and seminars led by professionals and educators for both the students and their advisors.[7] Most of these outings are linked to the current issue topic and provide information on the area in which the competition is being held.

During the competition, each team must complete five written field tests, each dealing with a different topic. These tests consist of various question types, including identifications and hands-on assessments. Each team must also prepare an oral presentation on the current issue topic, which the team presents to a panel of judges. An important element of the competition is the understanding that each topic is interrelated, and understanding human effects on the environment and how human activities connect with ecosystem functions. Each test is scored out of 100 points, with the presentation being scored out of 200 points. The team with the highest cumulative total of points at the end of the scoring is the winning team. Recognition is also given to teams with the highest scoring in each of the five categories.[3]

Competition locations

The location of the North American competition is determined based on a regional map that separates North America into five general regions: Far West, Mid-West, Southeast, Northeast, and Far North. The host college or university is usually located in a different region than that of the year preceding it.[8] For example, a recent competition (2013) was held in at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana in the Far West.[9]

2015 Competition

The 2015 NCF-Envirothon competition will be held July 27-August 7, and hosted at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. 45 states and 9 Canadian provinces and Territories will registered for the competition. The current Issue Topic for that year's competition is Urban/Community Forestry. This will be the second time that the state of Missouri Missouri Envirothon hosts the NCF-Envirothon Competition.[10]

Competition Topics

Each field test dealing with one of five competition topics requires both theoretical understandings and hand-on skills such as identification and chemical testing. Each topic also has a degree of relatedness to one another, which is sometimes considered in theoretical-based test questions.[3]

Aquatic Ecology

Aquatic Ecology Testing at the 2011 Envirothon Competition.[3]


Forestry Testing during the 2012 Envirothon Competition.[3]

Soils and Land Use

Students Examine a Soil Profile during the 2012 Envirothon Soils and Land Use Test.[3]


Current Issue


In 1979 the Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation Districts set up the Environmental Olympics, later renamed Enviro-Olympics, to encourage interest in environmental issues through hands-on competition.[5] Expanding rapidly to include forty conservation districts by 1987, it gained attention from other states, and in 1988, the program became the National Envirothon, with participation from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio. In 1992 Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to join the competition. The competition was sponsored by various state, local, and provincial conservation programs and associations until 1997 when Canon Inc. began its support of the program, with local sponsors still supporting lower level competitions.[3] In 1999 Canon became the title sponsor of the competition between the U.S. states and Canadian provinces, with the competition being renamed the "Canon Envirothon." It is currently referred to as the "NCF-Envirothon."[3]


Hosts and top-five competition place winners from the past thirteen North American Envirothon competitions:

Year Host 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place 5th Place
2013 Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana New York Massachusetts Missouri New Hampshire Mississippi
2012 Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania Missouri Ontario North Carolina Ohio New York
2011 Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick Manitoba Ontario South Carolina New Brunswick Connecticut
2010 California State University, Fresno, California California Delaware Minnesota Florida Maryland
2009 University of North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina Pennsylvania North Carolina Maryland Delaware Missouri
2008 Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona Delaware Missouri Pennsylvania New York Ohio
2007 Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York Connecticut Pennsylvania Delaware Missouri New Jersey
2006 University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba Virginia Pennsylvania Texas California Ohio
2005 Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri Pennsylvania Virginia Delaware Kentucky North Carolina
2004 West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia Florida Virginia New Jersey Kentucky North Carolina
2003 Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, Maryland Pennsylvania New Hampshire North Carolina Manitoba Maryland
2002 Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts New Hampshire North Carolina Pennsylvania Vermont Ohio
2001 Hinds Community College, Raymond, Mississippi Pennsylvania Mississippi North Carolina New Jersey New Hampshire



  1. "Envirothon: About Us". Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  2. "Canadian Forestry Association New Brunswick". CFANB. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 NCF-Envirothon Official Webpage, 2008
  4. "North American Envirothon: About Us". North American Envirothon. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 April Smith (2 November 2010). "History Of Envirothon" (PDF). North American Envirothon. Retrieved 8 November 2012. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  6. "North American Envirothon: Sponsors". North American Envirothon. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  7. "Canadian Forestry Association". CFA. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  8. "Envirothon: Future Competitions". North American Envirothon. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  9. MSU picked as site for 2014 NCF-Envirothon competition, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, October 9, 2012, retrieved 20 November 2012
  10. "Montana to Host North America's Largest High School Natural Resource Competition". Roundup Web. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  11. "North American Envirothon Curriculum Guidelines". North America Envirothon. Retrieved 8 November 2012. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  12. "Envirothon: Current Competition". North American Envirothon. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  13. "Envirothon: Past Competitions". North American Envirothon. Retrieved 8 November 2012.

External links

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