A local Envirothon competition (then called the “Envirolympics”) was created in 1979 in the Fulton, Luzerne and Schuylkill conservation districts. Interest in the program expanded and, in 1984 the first state competition was organized at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County, with six teams competing.
Now, the program includes more than 15,000 high school students from all of Pennsylvania's sixty-seven counties. Interest also spread outside of the Commonwealth and in 1988, a national competition (now known as the North American Envirothon) was initiated. More than 45 U.S. states and nine Canadian provinces are now involved in the Envirothon at the North American level.
Each year students from public and private schools are invited to participate in the Pennsylvania Envirothon. The students at the event are only a fraction of the total number of students involved in the Envirothon program, but having demonstrated excellence at their county event, have been honored by representing their counties at the state event. The Pennsylvania Envirothon, like many county events, is comprised of five subject areas or "ecosystem" areas including aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife. Each year a new current issue subject is chosen for further study and a non-testing station provides an opportunity for students to learn and ask questions regarding additional disciplines. Before competing, teams comprised of five students spend research time with their advisors to develop a greater understanding of the interactions between humans and their environment. At Envirothon competitions, the students test their knowledge under the supervision of environmental professionals including foresters, aquatic and wildlife biologists, and soil scientists. Students are challenged to use teamwork to develop creative solutions to environmental problems.
Pennsylvania State Envirothon Winners
*Canon / North American Envirothon placement