What Is Envirothon?
Arizona Envirothon is modeled after the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon (NCF Envirothon), North America’s largest natural resource competition for high school students. Arizona’s competition is open to all high schools within the state. Interested students form a 5-member team, study and learn about our natural resources and then compete for the opportunity to win significant prizes and represent Arizona at the annual NCF Envirothon.
Students and their coaches prepare for the competition with assistance from natural resource professionals. The major areas of study include aquatic ecology, soils and land use, wildlife, forestry, and a current environmental theme that changes yearly. Students must learn about each topic area and more importantly understand that these resources are not isolated subjects, but rather interact within a given ecosystem.
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders and none today can question the importance and benefits of environmental stewardship. The Envirothon helps students to develop the critical thinking skills that are necessary to manage and conserve natural resources in a sustainable manner, always mindful of economic, social, and environmental concerns.
Both the Arizona Envirothon and NCF Envirothon programs encourage working in partnership with natural resource management professionals, the education community, and the general public. These programs strive to create an effective multidisciplinary educational tool that will help our state’s schools to nurture environmentally aware students; meet an immediate need to teach more environmental education; and to recognize students, grades 9-12 who achieve excellence in natural resource management, knowledge and skills.
Our hope is that participants will gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of how individual actions affect natural resource issues; the interactions and interdependencies of our environment; current natural resource issues; agencies available to assist them in resource protection matters; and the need to become environmentally aware, action-oriented adults.
A Brief History...
Pennsylvania leads the way
In 1979, the Pennsylvania Soil and Water Conservation Districts created an “Environmental Olympics” competition as an approach aimed to encourage high school students to become interested in natural resource conservation and environmental issues. The Environmental Olympics, later shortened to Enviro-Olympics, quickly gained popularity as a hands-on outdoor competition designed to challenge and test each student’s knowledge of soils, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues.
For nearly a decade, the Pennsylvania Enviro-Olympics program demonstrated its ability to promote environmental literacy and supplement education in grades 9-12. The program quickly grew in size to include participation by 40 conservation district teams at the 1987 Pennsylvania State Enviro-Olympics, providing greater visibility for the program and stimulating the interest of neighboring states.
In 1988 the program became known as the Envirothon. That year, teams from Ohio, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania competed at the first National Envirothon hosted and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts.
Arizona joins the Envirothon
Arizona Envirothon was established in 1997 by representatives of several agencies and organizations throughout Arizona, including the Agua Fria-New River NRCD, Arizona Association for Learning in and about the Environment, and the Phoenix Zoo. That same year Canon U.S.A., Inc. began supporting the Envirothon In 1998, Arizona Envirothon held its first competition with six teams. In 1999, eleven teams competed. In both years, the Arizona team won first place in the Canon Envirothon. Each member of the winning team received a $2,500 scholarship.
Historically, Envirothon funding came from local conservation districts, state conservation committees, state, federal and provincial conservation organizations, and provincial forestry associations. In 1997,
Canon U.S.A., Inc. began supporting the Envirothon program and, in 1999, became the title sponsor until 2013. The program currently operates under the name NCF-Envirothon as part of the National
Conservation Foundation (Washington D.C.).
National Conservation Foundation (NCF)- Envirothon is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization established to coordinate the delivery of an environmental education program for high school students throughout North America and China (2016). With generous sponsorships from local conservation districts, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Forestry Associations, the National Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Smithfield Foods and many others, the Envirothon has
proven to be an exciting and useful tool for incorporating natural resource education into high school classrooms.
More than 50,000 students across the United States and Canada are positively influenced by the Envirothon each year. And now, the Envirothon is displaying promise in becoming international in scope
as more countries such as Mexico, Turkey, Japan, and Australia are showing interest in the program. Arizona State Envirothon is proud to be a part of the incredible history of this important environmental
Before the competition begins, teams are briefed on general ideas of each topic tested. This is a quick overview that allows students to ask resource professionals final questions before the competition begins. Students will have the opportunity to get basic instruction on how to use testing equipment and how to read instruments properly.
The testing portion of the competition occurs in rotating ‘Ecostations’. There are several of these stations, where students receive one written test per team. At each station, a series of questions are asked. The questions may require the students to perform a test using instruments, observe something, or may be a question based on knowledge of what they have gained from studying. Questions may be in various formats: true/false, multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank, etc. Each question is worth one or more points.
The oral presentation is meant to be a way for students to bring all the information they have learned to develop a management scenario. The scenario will encompass all or some of the topics (aquatic ecology, soils and land use, forestry, wildlife, agriculture, energy, waste management and the current issue theme for the year.) The students work as a team to understand the scenario and provide management ideas to satisfy all the stakeholders involved. This is a huge task because it means that the students must “wear the hat” of wildlife managers, soil scientists, foresters, aquatic ecologists, and many more professionals to understand the entire scenario. ask questions on all Envirothon topics.
The top three teams are awarded with various prizes. These include gift certificates ranging from $50 – $100, plaques, medals, and other merchandise. The first place team is also offered an expense-paid opportunity to represent Arizona at the North American Envirothon, North America’s largest natural resource competition for high school students.
Scoring and Placement
Scores from the Ecostation testing and the Oral Presentation are combined, and the 3 highest scoring teams continue on in the competition to present their oral presentation to a different panel of judges and the entire Envirothon assembly. These teams’ scores are recalculated with the final presentation, and the event winner is determined.
The winning team from the Arizona Envirothon is sent on a weeklong expense-paid trip to the NCF Envirothon competition. The team is provided with room, board and travel to attend the competition, held annually in July/August in a different sponsoring state or Canadian province.
More than 44 states and 8 Canadian provinces participate in this prestigious event – this is truly the “best of the best.” The top teams are awarded scholarships ranging from $1000 – $3000 per student.
*Adapted from the draft National Standards for Environmental Education (NAAEE), August 1995 draft.
Thank you for your interest in registering for the 2023 Envirothon. To complete your registration please download the full application here, fill it out completely, and return it to us by mail.
** Please Note: In accordance with Arizona State Envirothon Rules and Procedures, each team must consist of five members from the same school/organization.
The registration application must be received by Arizona Envirothon no later than December 16, 2022, in order to be officially registered for the 2023 Arizona State Envirothon competition. All applications must include:
Team Registration Form
Student Registration & Consent Forms
Code of Conduct Forms
Coach/Chaperone Registration & Release Forms
Photocopies of insurance cards (front and back)
$25/ person Non-refundable registration fee
Mail To: Arizona Envirothon P.O. Box 25698, Tempe, Arizona 85285 (Note - this is our new mailing address)
Three training workshops will be held leading up to the competition:
Soils & Wildlife: November 5, 2022 (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
2439 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Aquatics & Forestry: December 3, 2022 (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
Hassayampa River Preserve
49614 U.S HWY 60 89, Wickenburg, AZ 85390
Adapting to a Changing Climate: January 21, 2023 (Time TBD)
On-line via Zoom.
Please contact Rodney Held at 480-250-8786 or email@example.com if you have any questions regarding the event or completing the registration forms.
Thank You Sponsors
Click the link below for sponsorship information and benefits.
$2,500 - $4,999
$25 - $499
$5,000 - $9,999
Golden Eagle Level
$500 - $2,499
AZ Assoc. of Conservation Districts
Gila Bend NRCD
Winkelman Resource Mgmt Center
Agua Fria – New River NRCD
Salt River Project
Rodney Held, Chair
Salt River Project
Pam Justice, Testing & Education Committee Co-Chair
University of Arizona, Arizona Project WET
Jeff Humphrey, Public Relations Committee Chair
US Fish & Wildlife Service (Retired)
Noel Fletcher, Site Committee Chair
USDA Prescott National Forest (Retired)
Linda Diamantides, Vice-Chair
William Donato, Testing & Education Committee Co-Chair
Arizona Sustainability Alliance
Vacant, Fundraising Committee Chair
Christine Brehm, Awards Committee Chair
Desert Botanical Garden
Rodney Held, Program Chair
Linda Diamantides, Program Vice Chair
PO Box 25698
Tempe, AZ 85285
Jeff Humphrey, Publics Relations Chair