South Dakota Envirothon 2017

2017 South Dakota Envirothon Top Team Overall

Rapid City FFA with Advisor, Bobbie Jo Donovan

Rapid City FFA with Bobbie Jo Donovan and alternate


The South Dakota 2017 Envirothon was held on the banks of the Missouri River, at Cedar Shore, near Oacoma, SD, on April 2nd and 3rd.  Seven teams were able to join us for learning, laughter, and friendly competition.

On Sunday, the teams and their advisors checked in and then we got started with some amazing presentations from natural resource professionals across the state that were filled with passion and knowledge about their area of expertise.  Advisors, and students, alike, had great accolades to share with SD Envirothon about all that they learned, and how interesting the presentations were.  Our natural resource professionals are passionate about the conservation and stewardship of our resources, and they shared that passion with this group.  It was very exciting.

Later in the evening, the teams were presented with the current issue scenario…to make a long story short, we had a farmer that was dealing with some ugly packing of his soil, and he needed to figure out why this was happening and what he could do to improve the health of his soil for better crop growth now, as well as in the long-term.  Yes, this is the far abbreviated, and less technical version  of the scenario!  The teams were then handed their bags of goodies, and had two hours to create a presentation that they could present to the judges on Monday, with their projected solutions to this situation.  Paper and markers were flying, as creativity rolled to produce their final products.  When they were finished, everything was collected and put in a safe place until it was time to present the following day.

Monday morning brought about testing of the various areas of study.  It was a bit chilly and damp, but the team prevailed through the chill, got their trees identified and measured for forestry.  A bit of “fresh” air never hurt anyone, right?  Their minds were cleared and ready for presentations!  Our elite group of judges, from various walks of life, organizations, and associations, around the state, were ready for them!  Teams presented to groups of 4-5 judges, and then we broke for lunch.  Scores were tallied and then we gathered for the closing ceremonies.

Jeff Zimprich, from one of SD Envirothon’s fabulous sponsors, NRCS, shared a great story of the power of healthy soils!  Have you ever thought about how a pair of tighty whities would hold up against the powerful soil microbe?  Well, look no further…our dear students at SDSU completed a study on this phenomenon, and Jeff shared their findings with us at Envirothon.  Let me just say, those tighty whities don’t stand a chance against the fierceness of healthy soil and their super heroes, the MICROBES!  Check out the link below to see what happens to undies that are buries in the soil for 6 weeks…caution…your mind may be blown!

SDSU Tighty Whities Research Project

Photos of the “Tighty Whitie Project” Results:

Amazing the power of a tiny microbe…thank you for sharing this study with SD Envirothon!

Tighty Whities are a tough act to follow, but since all we had left were awards, and thanks yous to our fabulous sponsors and volunteers, I think we pulled it off!

Awards were given to the teams in each category of study:  Aquatic Ecology, Soils/Land Use, Wildlife, Forestry, Current Issues Written Test, Current Issues Presentation, and the Granddaddy of “Em All…the Overall Team Award!  Top teams in each category were given an Envirothon Medallion.  The Overall Team also won an all-expense paid trip to the Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmittsburg, Maryland, in late July for the NCF North American Envirothon, and also a scholarship to attend SDSU’s Natural Resources Engineering Camp (which sounds so very cool, by the way!) in mid-July.

So…drumroll please…the winners were as follows!

Top Honors for Aquatic Ecology:  Tripp 4H/Winner HS with their Advisor, Laura Kahler

Tripp Co 4H-Winner FFA


Top Honors in the following categories:  Soils/Land Use, Wildlife, Tie for Current Issues Written Test, Current Issues Presentation–Rapid City FFA with their advisor, Bobbie Jo Donovan

Rapid City FFA with Bobbie Jo Donovan and alternate


Top Honors in Forestry and tie with Rapid City FFA for the Current Issues Written Test:  Mobridge-Pollock Team 2 with their advisor, Katie Konold

Mobridge-Pollock II with Katie Konold

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2017 SD Envirothon!  We hope you had a great weekend of learning and competition and we look forward to seeing you back in 2018!


And now, a shout out to our sponsors!

Without the support of several generous agencies, organizations, natural resource professionals, and more, Envirothon in SD wouldn’t be alive…we would like to thank the following for their financial support in making the 2017 SD Envirothon possible!

NRCS of South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources

South Dakota Conservation Commission

Smithfield Foods

Tim & Ree Reich

Tim & Bonnie Bjork

Butte County Conservation District

First Interstate Bank

National Conservation Foundation

US Department of Ag Forest Service

SDACD Auxiliary

…and so many more that gave of their time and energy to make this event happen!

Thank you to all who help with this endeavor!