Education & Outreach
For further information about any education programs described, please contact NNSWCD Education Coordinator Faye Andrashko at 804 333-3525, ext. 113, or email@example.com.
Soil … 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!
Envirothon is an internationally recognized environmental competition for 9th through 12th graders in Virginia and across the US and Canada.
The Dominoin 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. In 2006, the Virginia Team won the Canon Envirothon Competition out of 52 teams. Each team member received a $5,000 college scholarship and other prizes.
On May 20, 2013, the Northern Neck 4-H Envirothon team took third place overall in the VA State Envirothon competition at Virginia State University in Petersburg. The winning team there, Hidden Pond Nature Center, sponsored by Northern VA Soil & Water Conservation District, will compete in the Canon North American Envirothon, this year August 4-9, 2013 at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.
Participation in Envirothon encourages life skills like team-building, critical thinking, decision making, problem solving and communications skills. Envirothon involves training in five natural resource categories: Soils, Aquatics, Forestry, Wildlife, and a Special Topic. The 2013 Special Topic was “Sustainable Grass and Pastureland Management: Achieving a balance between Traditional Agricultural Uses with Non-Agricultural Uses.”
Each year the NNSWCD locally promotes the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Educational Foundation (VASWCDEF) Scholarship Awards Program. The Program supports the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields involving natural resource conservation and environmental protection through 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. Four (4) $1000 scholarships are awarded throughout the state each year.
This year the NNSWCD funded its own annual $1000 college scholarship open only to Northern Neck students who are graduating high school seniors or who are enrolled in an undergraduate level program and are majoring in a natural resource conservation and/or environmental studies curriculum.
Individual applicants must be full-time students enrolled in, or who have applied to a college freshman level curriculum. Applicants must reside or attend school in one of the four counties served by the NNSWCD: Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond or Westmoreland. Applicants must document a class ranking in the top 20% of his or her graduating class, a 3.0 or greater Grade Point Average or appropriate equivalent of individual scholastic achievement.
For the past 30 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 2013, scholarships allowed funding three students at a cost of $550.00 per student.
The 2013 Youth Conservation Camp was held July 14 - 20 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. NNSWCD sponsored three local campers to this year's camp. Pictured l-r above are campers Jonathan Gray, NNSWCD staff counselor Amanda Strong, Rebecca Bell, and Tre's Rioland. For information on scholarships to this camp, please contact the District at (804) 333-3525, ext 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 2013 Camp was held June 17-22, at Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, and Jacob Gray from the Northern Neck attended.
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.
How many gallons of water run off your roof in a 1-inch rain?
Believe it or not, from a 40-by-20 foot roof you can collect up to 500 gallons of water!!!
If you want to conserve water or even lower water costs, a rain barrel is just one step in promoting environmental conservation practices of wastewater management. A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from your rooftop to use later for things like lawn and garden watering and pet washing. A barrel will save water for use outdoors during peak summer months, and it will save paying a higher water bill or using your well and electricity.
Please contact Faye Andrashko at email@example.com or 804 333-3525, ext. 113, for information on local workshops.