A Hands-On Natural Resources Problem-Solving Competition
Overview In preparing for the New Jersey Envirothon competition, high school students pursue in-depth knowledge about New Jersey’s natural resources and gain skills needed to navigate the complex environmental issues of today and tomorrow. Guided by a local teacher or parent, the participants use online study guides and attend in-person training workshops provided by natural resource professionals from the various sponsoring organizations.
Early in May, teams of five students convene for a day-long problem-solving competition, with honors, prizes, and scholarships at stake. Areas of competition include Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, Team Presentation and a Current Environmental Issue. One week prior to the event, students are presented with an environmental issue or real-life scenario for which they must: 1) explore the natural resources, implications and stakeholders involved; 2) collaborate to devise a solution; and 3) give a team presentation to a panel of judges on the day of the competition.
The winning team moves on to represent New Jersey in the North American Envirothon. This multi-day event involves teams from all regions of the United States and Canada, and has proven to be an enriching experience for past New Jersey participants.
Teams who elect to do so can camp at the site the night before the contest. Many students and teachers are drawn to return each year not only by the competition, but because of the camping and camaraderie they experience at the event.
Testing Format Test questions may cover any information in the study guide and suggested resource materials or web links. The contest will consist of hands-on questions along with some true/false, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blanks. There will be 30 minutes allowed at each station to complete the hands-on and written tests. Team presentations will last 10 minutes.
Teams Teams are comprised of five students and at least one advisor. The team advisor or "coach" facilitates team preparation for the competition.
Resources The Envirothon partners offer training and study guides for this preparation. Organized training sessions give students the opportunity to meet a wide range of professionals working in environment-related fields. The study guides acquaint students with background material to help participants prepare for the competition. Training trunks are full of materials to supplement students' preparation.
The Online Study Guide can also be used to supplement regular lesson plans. Preparation for the Envirothon helps meet New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards in Language, Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.
“With an ever-increasing tendency toward the ‘green’ movement, students of today need to be equipped with an understanding of the importance of our natural resources if they are to succeed in today’s world. The New Jersey Envirothon, through months of classroom study and the day-long hands-on competition, arms these leaders of tomorrow with the skills they will need to prepare for careers in environmental science and agriculture.” Douglas H. Fisher, NJ Secretary of Agriculture