Mission | Bylaws | Program | History | Competitions
The mission of Rhode Island Envirothon, Inc., is to develop knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing and
prepared to work towards achieving and maintaining a natural balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment.
Throughout the year, students are invited to attend hands-on workshops in the practical study of our natural resources. Workshops
are led by local professionals from agencies such as the RI Department of Environmental Management and the Natural Resources Conservation Services.
Working in teams of five, students take what they've learned and
participate in a one-day, outdoor competition, held in the spring. The winning team goes on to represent Rhode Island in the North American Envirothon competition held each summer.
The first Envirothon originated in Pennsylvania in 1979, when the Pennsylvania Soil & Water conservation
District created an "Environmental Olympics." The hands-on competition quickly gained popularity, growing to as many as 40 teams of high school students competing throughout the 1980's.
In 1988, the Environmental Olympics changed its name to "Envirothon" and teams from Ohio and Massachusetts
competed as well. The first Rhode Island Envirothon was held in May 1995. The winning teams that year met in
Idaho for the National competition. The Rhode Island Envirothon was a "Special Project" of the Rhode Island Recource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. with assistance of partners from the Northern Rhode
Island Conservation District: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Forest Environment; Natural Resource Conservation Service; and the University of Rhode Island, Cooperative Extension
Service. In 2003 the Rhode Island Envirothon was "spun-off" as a Rhode Island non-profit organization and was
granted 501(c)3 status by the Internal Revenue Service. Since then, hundreds of Rhode Island students from
high schools throughout the state have participated in Envirothon programs. The Rhode Island Envirothon, Inc. is now incorporated as a private non-profit organization.
Today, the Envirothon is active in 45 US states and most Canadian provinces. Each state holds its own annual
competition, during which teams of 5 high-school-aged students are tested in the areas of Aquatics, Forestry,
Soils& Land Use and Wildlife. Additionally, each team prepares an oral presentation on a special Environmental
Issues, which changes annually. The winners of these state and provincial contests compete against one another during the annual Envirothon, held each summer.
In 1997, Canon USA signed on as the official Envirothon sponsor. Local Envirothon programs continue to raise
their own funds, largely from corporate sponsors, local conservation districts and other environmental agencies.
The Rhode Island Envirothon holds a one-day, outdoor competition each May as the culmination of its year
-long program of environmental study. Each competition is divided into five different segments: Aquatics,
Forestry, Soils & Land Use, and Wildlife, plus a special Environmental Issue which changes annually. Working in
teams of five, students take written tests for each of the first four segments, and prepare an oral presentation for the Environmental Issue. There is frequently a written test for the Environmental Issue, as well.
The oral presentation is prepared in response to a "problem scenario" that the Envirothon Board gives to the
students 3-4 weeks before the competition. The students use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to arrive at solutions to real-world environmental problems. Each member of the team participates in the oral
presentation, which is judged by a panel of local professionals.
The North American Envirothon Competition is held each summer and lasts for five days. The winning teams
from each of 45 US states and 9 Canadian provinces vie for the title. Scholarship money is awarded to top scoring teams.
Please see our Calendar page for information on the next RI Envirothon and the North American Envirothon.