Area Students Excel at Envirothon Competition


Around 40 students representing high schools and middle schools from southeastern Minnesota gathered at the Byron Sportsmen & Conservation Club near Byron, Minnesota to test their knowledge of conservation and the environment during the 2022 Envirothon competition.

The Envirothon is an outdoor, hands-on learning competition for high school and middle school students. It centers on five different learning stations, including soils, wildlife, water resources, forestry, and a current environmental issue. Each station consists of a short presentation about the topic by a resource professional, followed by a test taken by the students. Across Minnesota, around 1,000 students participate in the Envirothon every year.

Some test questions were “hands-on” and required students to identify trees, determine soil texture, and analyze resource maps. High school teams also prepared an oral presentation and answered questions from a panel of judges.

For 29 years, the Southeast Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SEMASWCD) has held the competition for a ten-county area in southeastern Minnesota, with the exception of 2020, when the event was canceled due to Covid-19. In 2021, the event was held virtually.

“After two years of Covid-19, it was great to see students gather in person again in the spirit of competition,” said Teresa DeMars, Rice SWCD Public Relations and Information Specialist. “We had a beautiful, warm, spring day for the event.”

Two middle school teams from the Cannon River STEM School represented Rice County at the competition. The 8th-grade team finished in third place, while the 7th-grade team finished in 4th place.

In the high school division, Winona-Cotter A team took first place, Goodhue High School took second place, and Winona-Cotter B team took third place. These three teams advanced to the state competition which was held on May 16th at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls.