High School Contests


The Envirothon is an environmental and natural resources education competition, reaching more than 25,000 high school students across the United States, Canada, and China annually. The Nebraska Envirothon is a competition designed for high school students (9th-12th grades) to test their knowledge about the environment.

Five-member teams compete on the regional level in seven areas of environmental studies: soil, aquatics, forestry, policy, wildlife, range, environmental policy, and current issues. For the state competition, an oral presentation, on a topic selected by the North American Envirothon Committee, is added to the testing stations.The state and national hands-on competitions are held outdoors to give students a chance to take their classroom learning and apply it in a natural setting.

2021 Envirothon Contests

Despite the pandemic, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts are committed to hosting the Envirothon in 2021.

Regional Contest: Held February 3-5 through virtual testing

More than 75 teams competed in the regional contests between Feb. 3-5, and 14 teams qualified to participate at the state competition.The Special Topic this year was Water Resources Management. A study guide on this and all topics are available on the Envirothon website at: www.nrdnet.org/nebraska-envirothon

State Contest: Ord Qualifies for International NCF-Envirothon

High schoolers from across Nebraska – and a few pelicans – descended on Lake Wanahoo for the 29th annual Nebraska State Envirothon April 28. Ord High School took home the championship along with $1,500 and will represent Nebraska at the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Envirothon in July. This year’s competition was hosted at the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District’s Lake Wanahoo near Wahoo.

“Envirothon allows students to get outdoors and learn about natural resources in a hands-on environment,” said Jim Eschliman, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts president. “The activities are designed to help students become environmentally-aware, action-oriented adults, but also exposes them to many exciting career opportunities.”

During the state competition, five-member teams were tested on their knowledge of aquatics, forestry, policy, range, soils and wildlife, as well as prepared and delivered an oral presentation focusing on a current environmental issue. The 2021 oral presentation theme “Water Resources Management: Local Control, Local Solutions” challenged teams to propose a solution on a complex problem before a panel of judges.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation awarded cash prizes to the top three winning teams at the state competition:

  • First Place ($1,500): Ord
  • Second Place ($1,000): Norris Team 2
  • Third Place ($500): Arthur County

Additional prizes were awarded to the top teams in each testing category:

  • Aquatics: Norris Team 2
  • Forestry: Pender
  • Policy: Arthur County, Norris Team 1 and St. Paul
  • Range: Ord
  • Soils: Ord and St. Paul
  • Wildlife: Norris Team 2
  • Oral Presentation: Concordia

Ord will represent Nebraska at the NCF-Envirothon July 25-28, to compete for a top prize of $15,000. The international NCF-Envirothon will be hosted virtually by Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts and will include more than 40 teams from the U.S., Canada and China.

All high school students (five-member teams) are eligible to compete in the Nebraska Envirothon. Learn more at www.nrdnet.org/nebraska-envirothon.

NCF-Envirothon iNaturalist Project

Engage your students during winter break by getting them back into nature! The NCF-Envirothon iNaturalist project is an exciting distance engagement opportunity designed to help continue the hands-on, experiential learning that is foundational to the Envirothon program. For more information about the project, including how to join, click here!

Central Region Contests

The Central Platte & Lower Loup NRDs co-host the Central Region competition. Your school may compete at ANY regional contest; however, you may only compete in one regional contest per year.  NOTE: Flexible Testing Flexible times are allowed for students competing in District Ag sessions.

Teams that score the highest at each regional contest are invited to the Nebraska State Envirothon. The winner of that contest will go on to represent Nebraska at the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) contest to be held July 25 – 31, 2021, at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation is the annual sponsor of the Nebraska Envirothon. The NARD Foundation gives $1,500 to 1st place winning team, $1,000 to 2nd place, and $500 to the third-place team. Each team must use the money to enhance their high school’s Envirothon and natural resources & agriculture programs. The winning team can also use it to help pay their way to the international competition. Each team member on the winning team is also awarded a $500 scholarship by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to be used towards a major in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.

Your Contacts:
Marcia at lee@cpnrd.org or 308-385-6282
Larry Schultz at larrys@llnrd.org or 308-728-3221

Land Judging

Land Judging is a high school competition that challenges students to gain a better understanding of soil structure and land evaluation. Land Judging enables each participant to learn how to recognize the physical features of the soil, determine land capability for crop production, and evaluate management practices needed for proper stewardship. Soil, land and home-site evaluation provide a setting for students to investigate the soils in their region, the environment that surrounds them and their effect on their daily lives. There are three divisions as part of the contest – students, adults, and professionals.

During the competition, students judge four soil pits using an evaluation card to make assessments on: soil depth, surface texture, permeability, slope, thickness of surface and erosion. Each evaluation card is scored and added together to determine overall scores for individuals and the team. In order to compete in the state contest, teams advance from one of the seven regional competitions hosted across the state in October.

Range Judging

Range Judging Contests are high school competitions that provide students opportunities to have fun while becoming better educated on sustaining the yield of rangeland products by enhancement and protection of the range resources of soil, water, and plant and animal life. The Range Judging season consists of six regional events followed by a state contest.
The contest rotates to different counties each year and tests participants on range plant identification, rangelands and plant community change, and range condition.