ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Hundreds of Maryland’s brightest high school students are leaving the classroom and heading for the hills, streams and woodlands of Maryland’s countryside to compete in the first round of qualifying heats for the 2018 National Conservation Foundation Envirothon. This is the largest high school environmental education competition in North America. The competition includes a special environmental issue that changes from year to year—this year’s issue is sustainable rangeland management.

“I am happy to see so many students taking the initiative to go beyond the classroom for a hands-on education in resource conservation,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “The lessons learned through this event are important to the future of our agriculture industry and the environment. I wish everyone the best of luck as you represent your schools and the great state of Maryland.”

Students participating in Envirothon competitions have been studying the state’s natural resources since the beginning of the school year. As part of their extracurricular training, teenagers identify and categorize living resources, perform soil surveys, estimate wood yield from trees, and solve other complex natural resource issues. Students are taught by soil scientists, wildlife specialists, foresters and environmental engineers from local, state and federal agencies as well as private environmental organizations.

Teams compete by applying their knowledge and problem-solving skills in these natural resource areas. The county team with the highest cumulative total wins the local or regional competition and advances to the statewide Maryland Envirothon scheduled for June 14 – 15 at the Western Maryland 4-H Education Center in Garrett County. The winner of the Maryland Envirothon will represent the state later this summer at the national event in Idaho where more than 250 teenagers from the United States and Canada will compete for scholarships and prizes. 

The Envirothon is sponsored by Maryland’s soil conservation districts and the State Soil Conservation Committee and supported by other state and federal programs. Below are the dates and contacts for upcoming county Envirothon competitions.

The following Southern Maryland area competitions are scheduled below. 

Anne Arundel Envirothon Competition
Date: April 13, 2018
Place: Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center   
Contact: Tonja Marushack, Arlington Echo, 410-222-3822

Calvert Envirothon Competition
Date: April 17, 2018
Place: King’s Landing Park
Contact: Linda Subda, 410-535-2960

Charles Envirothon Competition
Date: April 19, 2018
Place: Gilbert Run Park       
Contact: Dee Dee Saunders, Charles Soil Conservation District, 301-638-3028

St. Mary’s Envirothon Competition
Date: April 24, 2018
Place: Hunter’s Hill Farm
Contact: Hayley Carter, St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District, 301-475-8402, ext. 3