Registration for the 2018 Envirothon is now open.
What is the Envirothon?
The Envirothon is a national competition for high school students (Grades 9 Through 12), with winning teams, each representing a single high school, progressing from the county or regional level to state and national levels. Envirothons are organized by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts in partnership with school teachers. Teams include three to five students.
The Envirothon began in Pennsylvania in 1979. New York State held its first Envirothon in 1990 and New York City held its first Envirothon in 1996. The State Envirothon is sponsored by the NYS Conservation Districts Employees Association.
New York City Soil & Water Conservation District sponsors the New York City Envirothon in partnership with a host organization, partner organizations and high schools. Funding for the past decade of the NYC Envirothons has been provided by Con Edison. Each year, the District moves the event from one borough to another, so that the participating students are given the opportunity to experience natural resource areas in all five boroughs of the city. Past sites have included the High Rock Park and Great Kills Park in Staten Island, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Alley Pond Park in Queens, New York Botanical Garden and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, and Central Park in Manhattan.
The Envirothon Competition
The Envirothon competition involves five categories on which teams are tested: Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife and a Current Events category that changes each year. The oral presentation and current issue section of the exam will both use the current events category as a centerpiece. The current issue category has covered topics such as greenways, pesticides, watersheds, wildfire management wetlands, and alternative and renewable energy.
At the competition, each category is covered at a separate "Station", managed by its own expert "Stationmaster." For each category, the test includes 25 multiple-choice questions worth 4 points each (plus a tie-breaker question). At least half of the questions are "hands on" questions involving the use of equipment or maps, or audio/visual identification.
A sixth category, devoted to problem solving presentations, is a prominent feature of the National Envirothon and some state and regional Envirothons. Teams must attempt to resolve an environmental dispute assigned in advance and team members, each representing a different constituency, must defend their support or dissent in oral presentations to a panel of judges.
The past topics have involved a hypothetical development proposal in the NYC watersheds, allocation of the burden of cleaning up "Ranger Lake," a (mythical) upstate waterbody that is dying of too much phosphorus, and the problem focused on environmental justice issues surrounding municipal solid waste disposal in the city of "New Gotham."
What do winners do?
Winners from each borough will compete in the State Envirothon, which is usually held in late May. The District provides transportation to the State Envirothon site.
Also in May, the District hosts an award ceremony for various levels of winners of the NYC Envirothon. Citywide winners, first runners-up, second runners-up, borough winners, and category winners will be awarded plaques. Everyone receives a certificate of participation. Commissioners of the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and Parks & Recreation present the awards to students.
These resources are designed for the Envirothon but are also useful for AP Environmental Science.
Study Guide for Aquatics
Aquatics Training Presentation
What are Macroinvertebrates?
Salinity Conversion Table
Study Guide for Forestry
Forestry Training Presentation
Study Guide for Soils
Soils Training Presentation
Soils Field Guide
Cover Crop Specimens Photo Album
Building Soils for Better Crops
More study guides and resources for the Current Issue topic can be found on the State Envirothon website.
More Information on the Envirothon
To find more information and resources on the Envirothon visit the NYS Envirothon website.