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Students line up at Fernald Preserve near Hamilton, Ohio to compete in the NCF Envirothon.

The Office of Legacy Management (LM)’s Fernald Preserve in southwest Ohio was privileged to be selected as the field-testing day site for the National Conservation Foundation’s (NCF) annual Envirothon competition. On July 26, site employees supported the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts who were the field day organizers. The weeklong Envirothon competition was held at the nearby Miami University of Ohio.

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The Envirothon is an international program and competition that engages more than 25,000 high school students from the United States, Canada, and China. Students use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles to gain hands-on learning experience in various outdoor fields, to expand their knowledge of the environment and natural resource conservation. These students spend months learning and studying in areas such as aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife and current environmental issues, all with the goal of qualifying for the NCF-Envirothon annual competition.

“Envirothon inspired me as a teen to move into a natural resources career,” said Wendee Dodds, who serves on the Ohio Envirothon Committee, the National Conservation Foundation’s Envirothon Operating Committee, and represents Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District. The young people here today are amazing. It’s inspirational to see the kids so eager to learn about natural resources.”

Each first-place team from participating states, provinces, or partner nations is eligible to attend the NCF-Envirothon annual competition, to compete against other top teams for scholarships and awards. The NCF-Envirothon annual competition is attended by up to 500 students, guests, and volunteers, and is hosted in a new location every year. LM staff were excited to be a part of the competition and to watch the students compete.

“The Fernald Preserve is honored to support the local community and host such a prestigious event,” said LM Fernald Preserve Site Manager Brian Zimmerman. “NCF-Envirothon’s mission aligns with STEM with LM goals to support STEM education and equip students with the knowledge and skills to prepare for STEM careers.”

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One of the five field testing stations at the NCF Envirothon at the Fernald Preserve Site near Hamilton, Ohio.

This year, Fernald Preserve Site near Hamilton, Ohio, hosted the field-testing day. At the five field testing stations, the teams of students faced academic and hands-on questions in the five subject areas as they moved through a circuitous route and encountered varied habitats on the site’s walking trails, which allowed them to become immersed in the local environment.   

“Thanks to Fernald Preserve for hosting the event, our volunteers and staff have continuously commented on what a beautiful site it is,” Dodds said.

For more information or to keep up to date with the Envirothon, head to the Envirothon.org.