Environmental conservation plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the future of our planet, and fostering an early understanding and appreciation for nature is key.
West Virginia Envirothon, a program of the West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts, stands as a remarkable initiative, offering a platform for young minds to engage in hands-on learning experiences focused on environmental stewardship.
The West Virginia Envirothon Program:
The West Virginia Envirothon program is an educational competition that aims to promote environmental literacy and encourage the development of practical skills related to natural resource management.
It provides an opportunity for high school students across the state to come together and explore the diverse aspects of environmental conservation.
Who Can Participate?
The program is open to high school students in West Virginia who have an interest in environmental science, biology, ecology, and related fields.
It welcomes students from public, private, and homeschooling backgrounds. Participating students typically form teams of five individuals, representing their respective schools or organization with one adult advisor/chaperone.
“One of the really cool things about Envirothon is that it affords students a way to experience nature. They’re experiencing it through forestry, soil, wildlife, and aquatics. Occasionally, there is a general fifth topic. This year they’re dealing with the adaptations of climate change.”
– Linda Carnell, Assistant State forester.
The Events during Envirothon:
The Envirothon program consists of several exciting events that challenge participants’ knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and teamwork skills. Let’s explore some of the key events within the program:
In this event, teams learn about aquatic ecosystems, water quality, and related issues. They may be tasked with conducting water testing, identifying aquatic organisms, or assessing the impact of human activities on water resources.
Soils and Land Use:
This event focuses on the importance of soil conservation and land management practices. Participants learn about soil properties, erosion prevention methods, and sustainable land use practices.
Forestry encompasses the study of trees, forest ecology, and sustainable forest management. Teams may be challenged to identify tree species, assess forest health, and propose management strategies to ensure long-term sustainability.
The wildlife event explores the diverse flora and fauna of West Virginia. Participants study wildlife habitats, species identification, and conservation measures aimed at protecting local ecosystems.
Current Environmental Issue:
This event tackles contemporary environmental challenges and encourages participants to think critically about potential solutions.
Teams may research and present on topics such as climate change, renewable energy, or habitat restoration.
“When the students participate in the forestry section, they get to do map reading, invasive species identification, as well as tree identification. They also use their forestry skills to identify those trees, get the actual measurements from those trees to give us a volume. They really are doing the hands-on thing that a forester does.”
– Johnny King, Forester, Braxton County
Engaging Learning Experiences:
Participation in the Envirothon program offers students a range of engaging learning experiences, including:
Participants often have the opportunity to embark on field trips to local natural areas, where they can observe and learn firsthand about the ecosystems and conservation practices discussed in the program.
Workshops and Presentations:
The program may feature workshops and presentations led by environmental experts, allowing students to deepen their understanding of various topics and gain insights from professionals in the field.
Networking and Collaboration:
The Envirothon program fosters collaboration and networking among like-minded individuals. Students have the chance to connect with peers from different schools, share knowledge, and develop lasting friendships with others who share their passion for environmental conservation.
“I did the Envirothon in high school, and later on in life I went to Allegheny College of Maryland’s forestry program because I went to Envirothon.”
– Jarred Kinlein, Forester, Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson Counties
The West Virginia Envirothon program stands as an exceptional platform for high school students to immerse themselves in the world of environmental conservation.
By participating in a range of events and engaging in hands-on learning experiences, students develop a deep understanding of the challenges facing our environment and gain the skills needed to become future stewards of our planet.
Through teamwork, critical thinking, and exploration of diverse ecological topics, the Envirothon program empowers youth to make a positive impact on West Virginia’s natural resources and beyond.