The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) is offering incentives to boost participation in the S.C. Envirothon, a statewide natural resources competition for high school students.

Each spring, Envirothon draws teams of teenagers from around the Palmetto State to compete for scholarships and the opportunity to represent South Carolina at the National Conservation Foundation’s Envirothon. The 2023 S.C. Envirothon will be April 28 at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center in Northeast Richland.

Envirothon teams are tested on their knowledge of five areas of environmental science – wildlife, forestry, soil science, aquatics and a current topic – and also must deliver an oral presentation. Teams include three to five students, plus an optional alternate, in grades 9-12. Each team must have the support of a team coach, and coaches do not have to be teachers.

“Competing in the S.C. Envirothon is a great way for high school students to explore careers in conservation,” said Chanda Cooper, conservation education analyst for Richland County. “By participating, students not only learn about natural resources, they also gain important ‘soft skills’ around leadership, teamwork and communications.”

Incentives and Eligibility
RSWCD will pay the team registration fees of $175 for the first four Richland County teams that submit their complete registration packets to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The first four Richland County team coaches who register will receive an additional $500 stipend.

If a team has multiple coaches, the RSWCD’s $500 stipend will be evenly divided among that team’s coaches. If multiple teams share a coach or coaches, the coach or coaches are only eligible for a single $500 stipend.

In order to be eligible for the stipend, coaches must:
• inform RSWCD of their intent to participate by emailing [email protected]
• attend a February 4 coaches’ training session at the Sandhill Research and Education Center (register by Jan. 30).
• submit a completed registration packet to SCDNR by April 3.
• take a team of three to five students plus an optional alternate in grades 9-12 to the S.C. Envirothon on April 28. More details are available at www.dnr.sc.gov/education/Envirothon/index.html.

In addition to these incentives, RSWCD has an SC Envirothon Training Trunk available for teams to borrow for two weeks at a time to help them prepare for the competition. The trunk is available first-come, first-served. To request the trunk, email [email protected]

Registering for the Competition
All teams participating in the 2023 SC Envirothon, set for 8:30 am to 3 pm April 28, must submit a team registration form, student participant waivers (one per student), and coach volunteer agreements (one per coach). Complete registration packets are due by April 3. Find forms and more details on the SC Envirothon website.

The training session for coaches will be from 8:45 am to 2:30 pm February 4 at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center. The training is not designed for students to attend. Interested coaches should register for the training by January 30.

The RSWCD promotes the wise use and care of natural resources for long-term sustainability. Richland County supports the work of the RSWCD with staff and other resources. To learn more about the mission and programs of the RSWCD, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.

 

Photo: Students from across South Carolina gather each year to compete in the Envirothon, a high school environmental competition that tests students’ knowledge on various categories, including soils, aquatics, forestry and wildlife