Education & Outreach

For further information about any education programs described, please contact NNSWCD Education Coordinator Kathleen Watson 804.313.9102, ext 105 and

2018 Scholarship Awards

Jayson Gill Awarded District Scholarship
Lancaster High School’s Jayson Gill (pictured upper left) is the 2018 recipient of the NNSWCD’s $1,000 Education Scholarship. Started in 2013, the scholarship was created with two purposes in mind:  To promote the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields related to natural resource conservation and environmental protection and to give financial support to students majoring in or showing a strong desire to major in a course curriculum related to natural resource conservation and/or environmental studies. 

Jayson attends Virginia Tech’s  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, majoring in Agribusiness.  Jayson is passionate about farming and is proud of his family’s agricultural legacy in Lancaster County.  He is the 14th generation of his family to farm in the county; something that he began actively pursuing from the age of 15.



Bavuso One of Five Statewide Foundation Awardees
Jacob Bavuso (pictured lower left) of Weems, a 2018 graduate of Lancaster High School received one of five statewide $1,000 scholarships awarded by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation District’s Education Foundation. Jacob’s interest in the environment  and science began in childhood and he continues to be “passionately obsessed with the study of nature.”  His main interests are learning about the habitats of various creatures and studying plants.  The connection between plants and erosion prevention led him to his Eagle Scout project which was to design a system to stabilize erosion on Hickory Hollow Trail.  

Jacob began his studies this fall at Rappahannock Community College to earn an associate’s degree in Sustainability Science. He will then transfer to Christopher Newport University, to study Environmental Science and plans to pursue a career in environmental research. 



Soil & Water Adventure Mobile

Soil & WAter Adventure MobileSoil … our foundation. It’s not just dirt. The bold exterior of the Northern Neck Soil & Water Conservation District’s Mobile Education Unit beckons visitors to Come In and Discover the World Beneath Your Feet!
  NNSWCD has provided services to the people of the Northern Neck for 74 years, its mission being to promote the stewardship of natural resources through leadership, education, and technical assistance for allresource users. To this end, the District unveiled its newly completed Soil & Water Adventure Mobile, which was developed to  enhance this educational process—to take our message on the road in a new way, to better serve our community.
  The mobile walk-through educational unit and billboard, which is handicap accessible, allows staff to travel anywhere within the community fully equipped with expanded resources to captivate and motivate students, their teachers, and our community at large. The goal is to expose participants to information in a new way, to create a better knowing and understanding of the bigger picture of our natural world—the interconnections, the ecology. This knowledge gives rise to greater involvement.
   In the interior soil “tunnel,” as people physically walk “underground” through the soil exhibit, they are exploring the marvels of the familiar—but largely unknown—world beneath our feet: the wonders and surprises of the world of SOIL and WATER, including GROUNDWATER.
Soil & WAter Adventure Mobile    This exhibit helps bring attention to the significance of soil and the alive world within it—and to all that soil means to us in our daily lives. Technology equipment allows for hands-on exploration outside and then viewing of real-life objects and organisms, to gain the big-picture importance of balance within our ecosystems.
    The interior walls of the walk-through exhibit show the soil layers marked by differences in textures and colors, and also realistically display various creatures that live underground, such as insects, worms, animals, and microscopic organisms. It also illustrates how underground water—groundwater—flows, and invites discussion of its origins.
    Exterior features include the reminder Clean water … our lifeblood, not just H2O with colorful, stylized depictions of the Virginia landscape, from the mountains to the Bay, and a rural home or farmstead, complete with lots of opportunities for talk of best management practices, the small everyday actions that can be taken by everyone for keeping our own natural world healthy and beautiful.

Envirothon is an internationally recognized environmental competition for 9th through 12th graders in Virginia and across the US and Canada.

The Dominion Virginia 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 an opportunity to work with natural resource professionals.

Envirothon began in 1979 and is now the largest nonathletic environmental high school competition that challenges students to put the information that they have learned to solving real-life environmental problems.

Participating teams of five students compete first in a local competition, then may advance to a regional event, with one team from each region advancing to State. The winner from the State competition goes on to the national event, sponsored by Canon, Inc., and others. In a recent year, the Virginia Team won the Canon Envirothon Competition out of 52 teams. Each team member received a $5,000 college scholarship and other prizes.

Participation in Envirothon encourages life skills such as team-building, critical thinking, decision making, problem solving and communications skills. Envirothon involves training and study in five natural resource categories: Soils, Aquatics, Forestry, Wildlife, and a Current Issue. The 2017 Current Issue is Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship.

There are some important Envirothon dates for 2017. The Area III Competition will take place on April 26,2017 at Deep Run Park in Henrico County. Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA will host the State Competition on May 21-22, 2017.

If you would like more information on Envirothon, or if you are interested in joining or starting a team in the Northern Neck, please contact Kathleen Watson, Education and Outreach Specialist, at (804) 313-9102 ext. 105.

Youth Conservation Camp

CampersFor the past 38 years, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) has sponsored a weeklong summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students on the campus of Virginia Tech.

The program brings together some 60-75 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources from conservation professionals and faculty of Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors.

Each year the NNSWCD accepts applications to sponsor two campers to the weeklong session. Applicants must be in grades 9-12 during the academic school year and cannot have previously attended. In 2018 NNSWCD Scholarships sent 2 students, Katie Vanlandingham and Sarah Hinson (pictured) who are both from Richmond County to Youth Conservation Camp. Following their week at camp, Katie and Sarah delivered a brief presentation at the District’s September Board Meeting to share what they learned and to thank the District for the opportunity to attend  camp. 

 The 2018 Youth Conservation Camp took place July 8-14 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Details about the sponsorship application are posted on the District’s website and in local newspapers. Applications for the sponsorship are due in April of each year. For questions about the 2019 Youth Conservation Camp and the application process, please contact Kathleen Watson at the NNSWCD at (804) 313-9102 extension 105, or click here: 

Holiday Lake Forestry Camp

In March, the NNSWCD promotes the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp to schools, the public, and partnering agencies by offering to cover the registration fee for two prospective applicants from the Northern Neck area.

Applicants 13-16 years of age are considered after nomination by a teachers, forestry and wildlife professionals, Soil & Water Districts, 4-H and Scout leaders, etc. Prospective campers should have a desire to explore and experience activities in forestry and wildlife-related careers, or have an interest in hands-on activities in resource conservation.

The 2016 Forestry Camp was held June 20-25 at Appomattox Buckingham State Forest. Information about the 2017 camp will be released in the early spring. For additional information on this specialty camp or the application process, pleased contact Kathleen Watson at (804) 313-9102 extension 105.

School Programs

NNSWCD tailors school conservation and environmental education programs to the grade level and the needs of the teachers and students. This spring, the District, in partnership with several partnering organizations and agencies, held a number of outdoor SOL-based programs for Lancaster Middle School (all grades), the Montessori School, Northumberland Middle School, and more. Students participated in activities on soil charatersitics and health; groundwater; seining and macroinvertebrates; oysters for filtering, food, fun; ecosystems; wetlands; pollution; water health and testing; and more.

NNSWCD sponsored a Soil Essay Contest, for Northern Neck middle-school writers: “Tap into the Wonders Beneath Your Feet: Dig Up the Dirt on Soil!” The objective was to have students write essays to creatively promote the wonders of soil and all it offers us in our everyday lives. The first-place winner of that contest, Alexandra Pitman, was a rising eighth-grader at Northumberland Middle School. She and two other Northern Neck middle school students, enjoyed a chaperoned trip the Smithsonian Institution Natural History Museum’s DIG IT!: The Secrets of Soil exhibition in Washington, DC.

The Enviroscape Watershed model--Nonpoint Source--with riparian buffer and groundwater kits demonstrate what constitutes a watershed, types of nonpoint source pollution, and how to prevent such pollution. This educational resource is valuable for preschool through adult audiences.


Future Workshops and Outreach

Please contact the NNSWCD office at 804 313-9102, ext. 101, for information on local workshops.

Northern Neck Soil & Water Conservation District | P.O. Box 220 | 5559 Richmond Road | Warsaw, VA 22572 | 804 313-9102 x 101
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