Frequently Asked Questions

So how exactly does the Envirothon competition work? Who can participate? Does it cost? Find out the answers to these common questions and many more below.

Don't see the answer to your questions below? Then contact NC Envirothon coordinator, Sandra Weitzel at sandra.weitzel@ncagr.gov and ask.

1. What is the Envirothon? The Envirothon program is a competitive event for high school and middle school teams to compete in a natural resources knowledge and ecology field day against other teams. It stimulates, reinforces and enhances students’ interest in the environment and our state’s natural resources. Resource subject areas are: Soils and land use, Forestry and plant life, Wildlife and habitat, Aquatics and water quality, and Current Environmental Issues including air quality and the impact of climate change.

2. Who can compete? Competition is open to Ecology clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, soil-judging teams, 4H clubs, home study groups, environmental groups, Vo-Ag groups, or any group interested in competing. Teams must be from the same school. An exception is made for homeschool study groups, scout groups, 4-H teams being from the same school; however, they must be from the same general area. An advisor is required at the competition for each team.

3. How big or small can a Team be? 3 to 5 members, plus 2 additional 'alternate' members can be registered as a team. Each team must have an advisor. Only the 3 to 5 main members to show up to the event will take the test together. Alternates can train with the team, but not test with them. Typically at the competition, alternates are placed on mock 'alternate teams' with alternates from other teams to gain experience in testing. Teams made up of alternates are not allowed to place for prizes but will be scored to see how well they did in each section. Some Area Envirothons do not allow for mock 'alternate teams' (check with your local Area Envirothon for details).

At least three (3) of the team members who qualified at the Area Envirothon event must be on the team that competes at the state level event.

PLEASE NOTE: As of the 2015-2016 competition year, the Contest Rules state the following for team size: High School - "Only high school teams with five (5) members will be allowed to place at the state level after final scoring. High school teams with less than five (5) members may qualify for highest scoring individual station awards. Only a high school team with five (5) members can be qualified to advance to the North American Envirothon.

4. How does a team Register for the NC Envirothon? Competition for the NC Envirothon starts at the local-level. There are eight (8) regional or Area Envirothons across North Carolina. These are the qualifying events for the state-level NC Envirothon competition.Teams must first register, compete and qualify at an Area Envirothon in order to advance to the state-level NC Envirothon competition. The top seven (7) teams from each Area competition will advance on to the state-level NC Envirothon competition from both middle school and high school. Additionally, the top high school FFA team from each Area will also advance as the NC Envirothon serves as the qualification for the National FFA Environmental Quality Competition. The top scoring High School FFA team at the NC Envirothon competition will be qualified for this National FFA event. A list of Area Envirothon contacts can be found here.

5. Is there Resource Information already developed to study? Yes, the NC Envirothon has developed study materials for each of the five main subject areas. All the study materials can be downloaded from this website on the HS or MS resource pages to prepare them for the Area & state-level competitions. Your local Soil & Water Conservation District can also assist the teams in securing additional information and resource professionals to help train the students.

6. When is the NC Envirothon competition? The state-level competition is usually held in late April or early May. Remember, in order to qualify for this teams must first be registered and qualified at their Area Envirothon. Top placed FFA high school team from each Area will also advance. Please check here for dates.

7. Where does the NC Envirothon competition happen? The NC Envirothon is held at Cedarock Park outside of Burlington, NC. 4242 R Dean Coleman Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

8. How is the NC Envirothon competition structured? The state-level NC Envirothon competition is a two day event, usually on a Friday-Saturday. Day One (1) is Station Training (for HS & MS teams) and team Oral Presentations (HS only). Day Two (2) is Testing and Awards for both HS & MS teams.

Day One (1) Station Training: Resource professionals from cooperating agencies and/or independent environmental organizations will conduct the station training by giving a short training session at each station. Advisors may attend the training stations on Friday only. The stations are in a field under tents or picnic shelters. Students and Advisors may bring camp chairs, stand, or sit on the ground. Those standing and with chairs are asked to arrange themselves toward the rear so that others may gather on the ground in front. Advisors are asked not to ask or answer question during the training session. The training session is for the students. No one except students and advisors will be allowed at the training stations or on the field. Other parents, children, and guests are asked to enjoy other parts of the park during the training sessions.

The station training presentations are not to give the test answers to the students. Students are expected to have studied all topics prior to coming to the Envirothon. This is a good time for the teams to ask questions of the professionals if there is something that they do not understand. Presenters, who may also write the tests, may present on topics not found in the required study materials. Any information presented at Day One's training's can be tested on the next day.

Day Two (2) Testing: Similar to the station training, there will be a resource station set up for each of the subject areas (Soils, Forestry, Wildlife, Aquatics, and Current Environmental Issues), in an outside setting, where the teams will be given the exam on each of the resource subjects. Each written test will last for 25-30 minutes and will have approximately 25 questions. These tests are answered as a team and not as individual students. After finishing one station and at a set time, the teams will rotate to the next station. Questions on the test will come from the resource material or from materials presented at the training stations on the 1st day of the state-level NC Envirothon competition.

The test papers are graded and the scores totaled to select the winner. The team with the highest cumulative score from all five or six (high school state-level only) subjects will be declared the State winner.

The five test stations will likely cover the following topics (but are not limited to these):

      • Wildlife: Wildlife ecology, habitat, identification, species interaction, foods, diseases, conservation and management.
      • Aquatics: Aquatics covers ecology of water, water quality, plants and animals living in or around water, pollution, wetlands, water quantity, and conservation.
      • Forestry: Forestry covers tree identification, forest history, ecology, insects, diseases, parts of plants, role of fire, and forest measurements.
      • Soils: Soils covers classification, erosion, soil surveys, site suitability, current issues, profiles, soil characteristics, soil ecology, and conservation practices.
      • Current Environmental Issues: Current Environmental Issues cover any current or newsworthy environmental issue including air quality and climate change.

Professionals from cooperating agencies and/or independent environmental organizations will conduct the station testing.

9. What are the Awards for the NC Envirothon?

Middle School

First Place $125.00 cash, and a plaque

Second Place $100.00 cash, and a plaque

Third Place $75.00 cash, and a plaque

Fourth Place $50.00 cash, plaque

Fifth Place $25.00 cash, plaque

High School

First Place $200.00 cash, and a plaque, $500 scholarship each team member, Opportunity to compete at North American Envirothon

Second Place $150.00 cash, and a plaque

Third Place $100.00 cash, and a plaque

Fourth Place $75.00 cash, plaque

Fifth Place $50.00 cash, plaque

Community Service-Learning Project: High & Middle School Winners—Plaque and $100.00 each

FFA Highest Scoring Team – High School and Middle School: Plaque

Medallions will be awarded to each of the five members of the team having the highest score at each station.

10. What is the Grievance Policy at the NC Envirothon? A Grievance Committee has been established to hear complaints on teams not following the rules, cheating, contested test questions, etc... Please inform your team members that if they wish to make a grievance or complaint, that this must be done as soon as possible and before the winners are announced. The guides at the stations are available to take grievances. They should be written down by the guide to present to the Grievance Committee.

11. Are Visitors allowed to attend? Visitors are welcome, but will not be able to attend the station training or visit the stations during the competition testing. If your team has additional guest attending and they would like to eat lunch with the teams on Day Two (2) of the competition, please contact Sandra Weitzel, at sandra.weitzel@ncagr.gov, so enough food can be ordered. All visitors will be given a visitors’ ribbon for identification and there may be a small charge for visitors’ meals.

12. What meals are provided at the event? One meal will be provided during the competition, pizza lunch on Day Two (2), immediately after testing. If anyone cannot eat the food provided or has special dietary needs, they should plan to bring their own food and cooler to store it. Everyone is asked to please bring their own water bottle to use throughout the event. Water coolers will be set up to refill your bottles. A limited number of water bottle will be available for sale if you forget your bottle.

13. Will my team get a Certificate for participation? Certificates will be prepared for each participating team at the competition. Please be sure the names of all team members are spelled correctly when registering for the Area Envirothon competitions. The Area registrations will automatically become a team's state-level registration if they qualify. The certificates will either be presented at the competition, be mailed after the event or in the advisor packet at check in.

14. Is the event Rain or Shine? The competition will be held regardless of the weather. Bring appropriate clothing and shoes. Please bring sunscreen, hats, and water bottles for warm and sunny weather. There may also be early morning dew on the field’s grass. Please bring rain gear if rain is possible. In the event of hazardous weather, the NC Envirothon committee will have an Emergency Action Plan for team to follow.

15. What is the Dress Code? Do not wear any item of clothing or anything else that may identify your team by city, county, or school. Team members will be given North Carolina Envirothon t-shirts at check-in

16. Is there First Aid available in case of accidents? A registered nurse &/or EMT will be on site at the state competition to handle emergencies.

Didn't see the answer to your question?

Then contact NC Envirothon coordinator, Sandra Weitzel at sandra.weitzel@ncagr.gov and ask.