Schools / groups can register a team of five students, with up to two advisors (teachers, parents, or interested volunteers) to guide the team. Resource materials, such as lists of websites and contact people, are available to help teams prepare for the provincial competition in May. Throughout the school year, teams increase their knowledge of five environmental subjects: soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife and a fifth topic of environmental concern that changes annually. The 2018 Envirothon Current Topic for New Brunswick is Effect of Climate Change on NB Ecosystems.
Workshops and field trips with professionals can be done throughout the year in preparation for the provincial competition. At the Envirothon NB Competition in May, the students’ theoretical and field knowledge is examined through outdoor field tests under the supervision of natural resources professionals, such as aquatic and wildlife biologists, foresters, and soil scientists. During these field tests, the students will be asked to do such things as measure the height of trees, describe nutrient cycles in aquatic systems, and identify signs of wildlife. During the competition, the teams are also asked to devise and present a proposal to deal with a serious environmental concern presented to them the day earlier. Integrating all five subject areas, and presenting their proposal in a manner that the public will understand, helps students understand real-world issues involving ecology and the environment.
How It All Began
Envirothon was started in 1979 by three Pennsylvania soil and water conservation districts. By 1988, the idea had caught on and the first national contest was held. After a decade of national competitions across the states, gathering more popularity as time went on, Canon U.S.A. became the official sponsor of Envirothon in 1998. The competition provides the top three teams with scholarships to a college/university/trade school of choice. Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to participate in Envirothon in 1993, and has been competing ever since. It also hosted the 2000 Envirothon competition at Acadia University in Wolfville, where New Brunswick took part in its first Envirothon. Harvey High School represented the province at the 2000 Envirothon competition. The first official provincial Envirothon competition in New Brunswick was held in May 2001, and with its inaugural start, New Brunswick also became the first jurisdiction to hold a bilingual competition. Although Ontario has been hosting regional Envirothon competitions in French only, Envirothon New Brunswick 2001 was the first bilingual competition in North America. Canadian provinces which have participated in the Envirothon are: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and the Yukon Territory. To learn more about the North American Envirothon, please visit their website.