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Education & Outreach

The Dominion Envirothon is a natural resources competition for high school
students. Students who participate learn stewardship and management
concepts, and work to solve real and hypothetical environmental problems. The
program is field-oriented, community-based and gives students the opportunity to
work with natural-resource professionals. The students have fun developing skills
as a team, meeting students from other schools, and learning about career
opportunities in the environmental field.
Who makes up a team and what do they do?
Students work in teams of five, plus up to two alternates. Throughout the school
year, students prepare to compete at the local level, then qualify for the Area I
competition. Top-scoring teams from each of the three different Districts in the
Area will advance to the State Dominion Envirothon Competition.
At each level of competition, students are tested on their knowledge of natural
resources in four categories: AQUATICS, FORESTRY, SOILS and
WILDLIFE, plus a CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE that changes annually.
Students visit four “in the field” test stations, where written- and hands- on
problem solving is required. In addition, each team delivers an oral
presentation based on their strategy for addressing the current environmental
issue. While the events are competitive, they encourage development of useful
real-world skills in research, collaboration and defense of findings. Education is
the bottom line.
Participants in the Envirothon program gain a deeper knowledge of the effect
individual actions have on environmental problems, the interactions and inter-
dependence of our environment, current environmental issues, the agencies
available to assist them in resource protection concerns and the need to become
environmentally aware, action-oriented adults.
Previous participants in the Mountain SWCD Envirothon program have attended
and taught at environmental summer camps and received college scholarships.
Are you interested in Envirothon?
If you would like to form or coach a team through your school, church, home
school group, scout troop, etc. contact Lorie Baldwin at Mountain SWCD: (540)
839-4616 or

Underground Classroom

The Headwaters SWCD’s Underground Classroom is a handicap accessible 22-
foot cargo trailer that serves as a mobile learning unit bringing soils and
conservation education to local schools and community throughout Augusta
County, Staunton, Waynesboro and surrounding areas. Visits outside of these
areas can be scheduled for a fee.
The Underground Classroom is used to educate youth and adults about soil
health and conservation. The Underground Classroom allows visitors to walk
through a three-dimensional virtual experience of the underground world beneath
them.  Through activities and investigations that correlate to the Virginia
Standards of Learning, students learn the important role soil health provides to
crops and water quality.  The goal of the Underground Classroom is for youth
and adults to come away with the knowledge that soil is more than just dirt; soil
conservation is vital for the health of our ecosystems and watersheds.  Included
with the mobile classroom, are the option for additional Learning Stations that
can be set up to expand on the curriculum covered in the Underground
Classroom by providing hands-on investigations and demonstrations.
The Mountain SWCD scheduled for the Underground Classroom to visit both the
Highland County Fair along with the Bath County Fair. Both events had over 100


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