By: The Working Forest Staff
This spring, more than 700 high school students from across Ontario will carry on the 25-year tradition by facing-off in regional, environmentally-themed academic competitions for the chance to compete in the Ontario Envirothon Championship. This year is an especially exciting year, as for the first time ever the provincial Envirothon will combine its long-cherished legacy with a modernized delivery, allowing teams to compete online!
The 2019 Ontario Envirothon will be hosted online through the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment from May 27th to 30th. This brand-new delivery format offers enhanced accessibility and cuts down the financial, environmental, and time costs associated with cross-province travel, while still delivering on core values and fostering the same level of interaction and engagement. Additionally, a web-based competition helps provide students gain experience using online environments similar to those used by many post-secondary institutions and workplaces. By evolving alongside a changing society, the Ontario Envirothon is using new opportunities to continue to educate and connect students with the environmental sector.
“For more than two decades, Envirothon has brought together like-minded students, exposing them to new ideas, perspectives, and cultures,” explains Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “We are proud to offer students the opportunity to combine established Envirothon elements in an online competition using the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment’s technology platform. This year’s championship will continue the program’s legacy of encouraging students to grow their confidence, their knowledge base, and collaborate – skills that are imperative to their continued growth as the green leaders of tomorrow.”
Throughout April and May, teams from across the province will compete in regional competitions that include interactive field trips and workshops led by local environmental professionals. Each regional competition culminates in presentations and tests on the core Envirothon subjects of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatics, and a fifth theme selected annually; this year’s topic is agroecology. In addition to guiding students to explore environmental concepts and natural resource-related career options, regional competitions also foster the development of key skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. The winning team from each regional competition advances to the Ontario Envirothon Championship.
Another new feature of the 2019 Ontario Envirothon is the Spirit Competition, which will engage teams leading up to the provincial competition in social media challenges to earn badges. The team with the most badges will be awarded a spot at the provincial Envirothon, even if their team doesn’t win their regional competition.
The Envirothon program is an environmentally-themed academic competition for high school students, held across Canada and the United States on regional, provincial, and bi-national levels. The first-place team from the Ontario Envirothon Championship will go on to compete in the North American Envirothon, which will be held this summer in North Carolina. In total, more than 500,000 students across North America participate in Envirothon competitions annually.
Forests Ontario extends its gratitude to the sponsors, teachers, program leaders, and volunteers across the province that make it possible for students to participate in this unique and enriching learning experience.