The Competition

NCF-Envirothon Annual International Competition

The Envirothon® is a multi-level environmental and natural resource education program and competition that encourages students to think critically and creatively about the natural world and their place in it. The Envirothon consists of in-class curriculum learning with hands-on outdoor field experiences where students can learn natural resource management techniques from natural resource professionals. Students can then participate in the academic competition to test their knowledge and skills for scholarships, prizes, and accolades.

A Global Challenge with Local Roots

Each year, over 25,000 high school students across the United States, Canada and China spend months studying, researching and learning about conservation, natural resources, environmental issues and more to prepare for a competition like no other! All with the goal of attending the NCF-Envirothon annual international competition.

The first placed team from each state, provincial and partner nation Envirothon competition is eligible to attend the NCF-Envirothon annual international competition, to compete against the top teams for thousands in scholarships and awards. Each arrives at the NCF-Envirothon competition as a result of extensive training and superior performance.

Drawing up to 500 students, volunteers and guests annually, the competition is hosted in a different U.S. state or Canadian providence each year. The 6-day event will expose students to diverse environmental issues, ecosystems and topography. Teams may be immersed in the complex issues involving rangeland management in the western U.S. one year and then be studying the impacts of climate change on the Maritime coastal communities of eastern Canada the next. To help familiarize students with what may be a vastly different world from where they are from, each team receives extensive on-site training leading up to and during the competition to help familiarize themselves with the ecosystem.

The Host of each year’s competition, the local state or provincial Envirothon program where the annual competition will be located, works extensively with the NCF-Envirothon Operating Committee and staff to develop the educational study resources, training plans, tests, event logistics and more that go into conducting a NCF-Envirothon annual international competition. A process that often takes 3-4 years of planning to pull off the multi-day event.

At the competition, the teams are trained, tested and scored on their knowledge and performance on 5 different Station Tests and an Oral Presentation component. Together, the 6 scored components will be tabulated for final team ranking and awards distribution.

Station Tests (Training and Testing)
At the NCF-Envirothon, teams are trained and tested on each of the following 5 subject areas: Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils/Land Use, Wildlife and Current Environmental Issue. Each area will have its own dedicated “station” where the sole focus of study and testing will be that subject.

  • Training Day - Teams will spend a day on-site training with local natural resource professionals. This day of training allows each team an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the unique ecology of the local environment and ask site-specific questions to the local experts.
  • Testing Day – Following training, each team will take a written test in each of the 5 subject areas. The tests are developed by local natural resource professionals, experts in their field of study. The tests are comprehensive in nature and reflect the scientific methodology utilized in each field. Teams are expected to be familiar with common field instrumentation and must be capable of using both imperial and metric measurements.

Oral Presentations
Being able to orally communicate natural resource material is crucial in addressing environmental problems/issues, particularly in situations where collaborative efforts are required to develop practical solutions and effect change. The NCF- Envirothon strives to challenge and promote the development of oral communication skills in each student participant, which is why the oral presentation is a major component of the overall competition score.

Using the knowledge learned from the core 5 subject areas, teams are given the opportunity to address a real-world environmental/natural resource issue. Working as a unit, the team must analyze a given scenario, develop a plan of action to address it and then present their plan to a panel of judges for scoring.
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