What is Envirothon?

Communications Coordinator Emily stands at a scenic overlook with mountains behind

By Emily Mansfield, PCCD Communications Coordinator

As we strive to be leaders in conservation here at the District, we know that part of that entails engaging our community’s youth in conservation and equipping them with the skills they need to become the leaders of the future. Extending an opportunity for the kids to spend a day outside with friends and professional role models in the environmental sciences has always been an effective way to foster these connections. We partner each spring with Wayne Conservation District, state and local organizations, and our school districts to coordinate an exciting Envirothon competition for students in our two counties. You’ve likely heard about this long-running event (this will be its 37th year!), but what exactly is an Envirothon?

The students prepare for months, studying from reference materials that cover five subject areas within the environmental sciences: Aquatic Ecology, Soils and Land Use, Forestry, Wildlife, and a Current Issue topic which changes annually. Students do a deep dive into all of these areas, learning to identify bird vocalizations, aquatic insect life cycles, soil core horizons, and much more. On the day of the Envirothon event, the students get the chance to showcase their knowledge by completing tests on each subject, working together in teams of five. To acknowledge all their hard work, the teams who score the highest in each subject area win a prize related to that topic (and of course bragging rights!).

Five students and their teacher standing in front of an Envirothon poster and holding a trophy

2023 1st place Envirothon team

While the students are competing against teams from the other high schools and their own, they are also building relationships. Envirothon is a chance for students from different schools and counties to form new friendships over their shared love of the environmental sciences. It is also an incredible opportunity for the students to interact with professionals in the field, talking with staff from the PA Fish & Boat Commission, Game Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, National Resource Conservation Service, and their respective county conservation districts about their career paths and experiences. After the Pike/Wayne Envirothon, the winning team from each county gets to attend the state Envirothon and meet students from all across Pennsylvania, too.

Although the county competition itself is only one day, Envirothon is a complex event that would not be possible without the dedication and engagement of all our partners. The cooperating state and federal agencies above not only participate at the competition, they also offer study sessions for the students ahead of the event and provide the reference materials which the students study throughout the year. We sincerely appreciate the time and effort that these agencies give to our Envirothon, along with all their other contributions to our community.

In addition to the cooperating agency personnel, the students are supported heavily by their teachers, with one or two being their team’s advisor. These advisors work hard to inform all their students about the opportunity to participate in Envirothon, supervise team after-school study groups, coordinate study sessions with the cooperating agency staff, and transport the students to the competition. These teachers are the backbone of Envirothon, and our Districts are so grateful for all that they do to support our county’s youth, in this program and beyond.

The 2024 Pike/Wayne Envirothon will be held on Tuesday, April 16. If you or someone you know has a business that would like to sponsor Envirothon and ensure its continued success, please call or email the District for more information (570-226-8220; emansfield@pikepa.org). Be sure to share information about Envirothon with local high school students who may be interested in participating next year. If you’re unsure who your school’s Envirothon advisor is, please reach out to us—we’d be happy to connect you!