High School Contests

Credit: Lori Potter, Kearney Hub


Instructor Janice Wolfinger and Dawson County FFA Team win the 2023 State Envirothon.

Dawson County Envirothon Club Qualifies for International NCF-Envirothon

Pelicans and turkeys welcomed high schoolers from across Nebraska to Lake McConaughy for the 31st annual Nebraska State Envirothon April 26, 2023. Dawson County Envirothon Club took home the championship along with $1,500 and will represent Nebraska at the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Envirothon in New Brunswick, Canada, in July.  Envirothon is an environmental education program for high school students that combines classroom learning and outdoor activities. This year’s competition was hosted at the University of Nebraska’s Cedar Point Biological Station at Lake McConaughy near Ogallala.

“Envirothon allows students to get outdoors and learn about natural resources in a hands-on environment,” said Dr. Orval Gigstad, 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 2023 oral presentation theme “Adapting to a Changing Climate” challenged teams to propose a solution to a complex problem before a panel of judges. The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Foundation awarded cash prizes to the top three teams at the state competition:

  • First Place ($1,500): Dawson County Envirothon Club (Dawson County, Nebraska)
  • Second Place ($1,000): Milford High School (Milford, Nebraska)
  • Third Place ($500): St. Paul High School (St. Paul, Nebraska)

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

  • Aquatics: Concordia Lutheran (Omaha)
  • Forestry: Concordia Lutheran (Omaha)
  • Policy: Dawson County Envirothon Club
  • Range: Ord
  • Soils: Milford
  • Wildlife: Milford
  • Oral Presentation: Dawson County Envirothon Club

Eighty-six teams competed in the regional contests during February and March, and 14 teams qualified to participate at the state competition. Dawson County Envirothon Club will represent Nebraska at the NCF-Envirothon July 23-29, 2023, to compete for a top prize of $15,000. The international NCF-Envirothon will be hosted at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, and include more than 40 teams from the U.S., Canada, China and Singapore.

Learn more about the Nebraska Envirothon at www.nrdnet.org/nebraska-envirothon.

  • View all photos at Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjABxcg
  • Link to Download Photos & Captions below: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h7V-EzX-_YZqKEJxxVfEnF8jNzTp7QQh?usp=sharing
    • Champion_Dawson_County: Dawson County Envirothon Club takes home the Nebraska Envirothon Championship April 26, 2023. Team members include: Ryan Arbuthnot, Creyton Line, Parker Walahoski, Jacie Wolfinger, Jaelin Wolfinger, and are coached by Janice Wolfinger.
    • Second_Milford: Milford High School took second place at the Nebraska Envirothon April 26, 2023. Team members include: Nolan Eickhoff, Sydney Havlat, Conner Kohout, Autumn Wissenburg, Jay Wissenburg, and are coached by Jim Wissenburg.
    • Third_St_Paul: St. Paul High School took third place at the Nebraska Envirothon April 26, 2023. Team members include: Gracie Ackles, Kaleb Baker, Isaac Hagen, Same Kramer, Sam Wells, and are coached by Boyd Bowder.
    • Snake_Wildlife: Parker Walahoski of Dawson County Envirothon Club works to identify a snake at the Envirothon wildlife station.
    • Zoo_Academy_Forestry: Students from the Omaha Zoo Academy work together to identify a tree at the Nebraska Envirothon forestry station April 26, 2023.
    • Range_Milford: Students from Milford High School work together at the Nebraska Envirothon range station April 26, 2023.

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 to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife and a current environmental issue. The top team from each state, province and nation partner participate in the annual NCF-Envirothon. The goal of the annual competition is help shape our future leaders’ knowledge in natural resources issues.


Congratulations to the Central Region winners:
First Place:  St. Paul Team #1
Second Place: Ord Team #1
Third Place: Aurora


Central Platte NRD & Lower Loup NRD co-host the Central Region competition. The competition will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 28th in Columbus at the Central Community College-Platte Campus. The Special Topic this year is Waste to Resources. A study guide on this and all the Envirothon topics are available on the Envirothon website at https://www.nrdnet.org/nebraska-envirothon

Statewide Newsletter

Teams that score the highest at each regional contest are invited to the Nebraska State Envirothon to be held April 26, 2023, at Cedar Point Biological Station at Lake McConaughy in
Ogallala, NE. The winner of that contest will go on to represent Nebraska at the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) contest to be held in July 2023.

Note: Schools 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.

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 Lee, Central Platte NRD  215 Kaufman Ave, Grand Island NE 68803
Fax: (308) 385-6285     Email: lee@cpnrd.org     Tel: (308) 395-7551

Brody Vorderstrasse, Central Platte NRD  215 Kaufman Ave, Grand Island NE 68803
Fax: (308) 385-6285     Email: brody@cpnrd.org     Tel: (308) 385-6282

Alan Bartels, Lower Loup NRD 2620 Airport Drive, Ord, Nebraska 68862
Email: abartels@llnrd.org      Tel: (308) 728-3221

State Envirothon Contest

Envirothon Competition Qualifies 14 Teams for State
Nebraska High School Students’ Natural Resources Knowledge Shines

Between Feb. 1 and March 7, Nebraska high school students competed around the state during regional Envirothon competitions demonstrating natural resources knowledge by identifying trees and animal tracks, calculating the number of steers on rangeland, and determining soil structure.  The winning teams from each Envirothon region as well as eight wildcards – selected based on their competition scores – qualify to compete at state. Out of the 86 teams that competed, this year’s state qualifiers include:

Regional Winners/Wild Cards School Name
Southeast Milford Team 1
Mid-Plains Dawson County Envirothon Club
Central St. Paul Team 1
Metro Concordia 1 (Omaha)
West Alliance Team 1
Northeast Burwell Team 2
Wild Card 1 R3 - Zoo Academy (Omaha)
Wild Card 2 Norris
Wild Card 3 Ord Team 1
Wild Card 4 Aurora Team 1
Wild Card 5 Tri-County
Wild Card 6 Bennington Blue
Wild Card 7 St. Paul Team 2
Wild Card 8 Loup City Team 1

Traditionally, Nebraska’s six regional Envirothon competitions are hosted in conjunction with district agriculture education contests. High school students compete on five-member teams in seven environmental areas including: soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, range, policy and a current environmental issue.

Qualifying teams will compete at the State Envirothon April 26, at Cedar Point Biological Station near Ogallala. During the state competition, teams compete in hands-on environmental testing stations as well as prepare and deliver an oral problem-solving presentation focusing on “Adapting to a Changing Climate.”

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

  • First Place: $1,500
  • Second Place: $1,000
  • Third Place: $500

Learn more about the Nebraska Envirothon 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!

Land Evaluation

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.

National Contest Results
Congratulations to the Nebraska students who placed in the 2023 national contest!

Hampton FFA 

  • Brooke Lubke placed 30 out of 364.
  • Korbin Stump placed 86 out of 364
  • Edward VanLandingham placed 178 out of 364
  • James Doyle 202 out of 364
  • The Hampton FFA Team placed 24 out of 93 teams

 Norfolk FFA 

  • Mercer Thierry placed 47 out of 364
  • Ashlynn Millikan placed 145 out of 364

Bayard FFA 

  • Cambree Schmaltz placed 94 out of 364
  • Riley Hopkins placed 197 out of 364
  • Taylor Petersen placed 321 out of 364
  • Nolan Dueker placed 342 out of 364
  • The Bayard FFA Team placed 66 out of 93 teams

 Southwest FFA 

  • Nathan Rippe placed 257 out of 364
  • Treven Critchfield placed 278 out of 364
  • Mitchel Stritt placed 279 out of 364
  • Hunter Blume placed 316 out of 364
  • The Southwest 82 out of 93 teams

 Lewiston FFA 

  • Leah Christen placed 283 out of 364
  • Jazmine Thomsen placed 306 out of 364
  • Taven Borcher placed 329 out of 364
  • Jaqcquelin Mullins of Lewiston FFA placed 337 out of 364
  • The Lewiston FFA Team placed 88 out of 93 teams
South Central Contest  - hosted by CPNRD & NRCS in Hall County

 YOUR CPNRD CONTACT INFO:  (308) 385-6282  |  Marcia Lee lee@cpnrd.org  |  Brody Vorderstrasse  brody@cpnrd.org

Area IV Range Judging

The 2023 Area IV Range Judging Contest was held September 14 in Hamilton County,
Thank you to the Prairie Plains Resources Institute for their use of Gjerloff Prairie and the Whitney Education Center.
Official Results

nior Division - Individual
Place   School      Name                 Ribbon

1   Elgin - Baylee Busteed  - Purple
2  Wheeler Central - Jayna Guggenmos  -   Blue
3  Wheeler - Central Bobbi Guggenmos  -  Red
4  Elgin - Samuel Hemenway  -  White

Senior Division - Team
1   Elgin - Baylee Busteed, Samuel Hemenway, Callie Heithoff, Sara Bode - Purple
2  Wheeler Central - Jayna Guggenmos, Bobbi Guggenmos, Elijah Heinz, Cooper Pokorny - Blue
3  Elgin - Nick Anderson, Taylor Beckman, Blake Henn, Gage Thiessen - Red
4  Amherst - Javelynn Graham, Noah Trampe, Morgan Ourada, Nolan Pile - White

Junior Division - Individual
1    Wheeler Central Haley Borwege 112 124 215 451 Purple
2   Wheeler Central Braelynn Schlenger 124 115 205 444 Blue
3   Wheeler Central Justin Guggenmos 118 113 200 431 Red
4   Elgin - Haley Parks  White

Junior Division - Team
1   Wheeler Central Haley Borwege, Braelynn Schlenger, Justin Guggenmos, Reese Smith - Purple
2  Elgin Haley Parks, Isaac Hemenway, Camry Kittelson, Jayda Chessmore - Blue
3  Wheeler Central Parker Freouf, Paige Schlenger, Hadley Pokorny, Daniel Kluver Jr. - Red
4  Riverside Myles Moseman, Turner Heikes, Carter Molt, Nicholas Groeteke - White

Adult Division
  1    Arcadia - Megan Skibinski - Purple
2   Broken Bow - Caleb TenBensel - Blue
3   Wheeler Central - Kelly Guggenmos - Red
4   Overton - Julie Loudon - White

Contest Details
Range Judging competitions are held for high school students to opportunities to become better educated on sustaining the yield of rangeland products by enhancement and protection of range resources including soil, water, plant and animal life. The Nebraska Range Judging season consists of 6 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.  Map of Range Judging Regions

Reference Materials:  EC150 - Range Judging Handbook and Contest Guide for Nebraska  http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/ec150.pdf

There are 3 contest divisions: Junior (sophomore class and under), Senior (junior & senior class), and Adult. Students are not designated as teams. The scoring program automatically sorts students by the highest to lowest scores, placing the top scoring students on the same team.

YOUR CPNRD CONTACT INFO:  (308) 385-6282  |  Marcia Lee lee@cpnrd.org  |  Brody Vorderstrasse  brody@cpnrd.org