Congratulations Marshall County 4H

Corrected version. 

Congratulations to Trey Jones, Austin Effling, Austin Bratsveen, Dylan Jones, and Blaze Jones, winners of the 2013-2014 SD Envirothon! This group from Marshall County 4H will go on to the competition in Kansas in July.

Thanks to their leaders Tom and Marcy Jones.


Marshall County 4H presents on local and sustainable agriculture.


1st Place – Marshall County 4H
2nd Place – Gettysburg N
3rd Place – Highmore
4th Place – Gettysburg H

Mark your calendars for the next SD Envirothon. New Dates: October 1-2 at Outlaw Ranch near Custer SD! Start planning your teams today!

Current Issue Information Now Available

Current issue key topics, learning objectives, resources and the current issue presentation scenario are now posted. Teams are invited to explore this page to help guide them in preparing for the current issue section of the competition.

Please note: this year’s scenario requires pre-Envirothon research. Teams will need to research a farmers’ market in their community (does not have to be in their town, just one that they theoretically could vend at) and identify crops to produce for sale there.

Teams will be allowed one 8 1/2″ x 11″sheet of handwritten or printed notes to bring into presentation planning time with notes from their research.

Questions? Contact Anne Lewis

2014 North American Envirothon Update

The SD Envirothon Committee recently received word that the North American Envirothon competition in Georgia has been cancelled due to funding issues. The 2014 South Dakota Envirothon Competition will still take place! Furthermore, we are still doing preliminary planning for the 2015 SD Envirothon somewhere West River/Black Hills area.

The main difference for the teams this year is that in lieu of competing for a trip to Georgia, students will be competing for scholarship money. Funding at the state level has not been affected.

Teams should continue preparing for the Envirothon. Kits are tentatively scheduled to ship out next week.

SD Envirothon 2013 Details

Hello All,

This is an overview of the SD Envirothon events and expectations.  There is a lot of information here.  I will put in a PDF format so you can print out.  In general, plan to arrive at least an hour before your first assignment unless you think you need more time.  We will have coffee and cookies if you get there too early. 🙂

Please report to the Oahe Downstream Lodge for all events.  We will direct you from there.



We can have access to the Oahe Downstream Lodge on Thursday morning.  I expect one of the coordinators (Deb Springman, Bobby Jo Jamison or me, Anne Lewis) will be there by 9AM.

Skills review presenters – you may set up at any time. We will be at the Oahe Downstream Lodge for the skills review.  One of your assignments by Thursday afternoon is to finalize your testing site which will be within the campground but not necessarily at the Oahe Downstream Lodge. Lunch is on your own.

Participants – travel time. Lunch is on your own.

Advisors – travel with participants.  Lunch is on your own.

Team Buddies – off duty

Judges – off duty all day


Participants start arriving in order to start the skills review at 1PM.  Each participants should choose TWO skill review sessions from forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology, and soils. The skills review session repeats twice. Advisors may attend skills review session.

12:45PM Orientation at Oahe Downstream Lodge for presenters, participants and advisors.

1:00PM – 2:15PM – 1st skills review session

2:15PM – 3:30PM – 2nd skills review session.

3:45 – 5:15PM – Presentation on current issue. Participants will be allowed to take notes that they can bring into planning. Advisors may attend presentation.  Team buddies, please report by 5PM.

Presenters, finalize your testing sites and make any last minute plans with coordinators about Friday’s testing.

5:15PM – 5:30PM – Orientation for Planning Time for participants, team buddies, advisors. 

5:30PM- 6:30PM – Planning for the oral presentation.  Participants and team buddies find a work space and start developing their planning presentation. Advisors have free as they are not allowed to participate.

6:30PM – ? Dinner and cruise on the Capitol City Queen for participants, advisors and out of town volunteers.



7:00 – 7:45 Breakfast at the Oahe Downstream Marina for participants, advisors and out of town presenters/team buddies.

8:00AM – Short meeting for presenters.  Test station set up.

8:15AM – Meeting for participants, team buddies, advisors.

8:45AM – Participants and team buddies go to first test station.

Testing Schedule. Presenters Please start and stop exactly on time.

  • 9:00-9:45 Station 1
  • 9:55 – 10:40 Station 2
  • 10:50 – 11:35 Station 3
  • 11:45 – 12:30 Station 4

12:30PM – 2:45PM Participants and team buddies start planning.  Presenters  correct tests.  Sack lunch provided.

2:00PM – Judges, please report to Oahe Downstream Lodge

3:00PM – Current issue presentation for Judges, participants and team buddies. 

  • 3:00PM – 3:15PM – Two teams present simultaneously a 10 minute presentation. Five minutes are left for questioning.
  • 3:15PM – 3:20PM – Judges score presentation.
  • 3:25 – 3:40PM Third team presents a 10 minute presentation. Five minutes are left for questioning.

4:00PM Winning team announced.  Everyone feels relieved.  Safe travels and we will see you next year at SD Envirothon 2014.

Current Issue Challenge

Teams will develop an oral presentation on the issue of sustainable range management for the 2013 SD Envirothon.

The presentation challenge is here in PDF format : 2013 SD State Envirothon Oral Presentation Scenario

Background reading on sustainable range management can be found here:

Part of the skills review on Thursday will include a presentation from range management specialists.  Students will be allowed to take notes on provided paper and bring these notes with them when they plan their presentation at the Envirothon. Students will not be allowed to bring any other items including their phones into planning time. Everyone surrenders their phones and any other resource material except for their notes from the presentation  to their team buddy.  Please consult the schedule for scheduled planning times.

When students leave planning time, they surrender their planning materials including their notes.  They are allowed to discuss their presentation with their advisor or other person outside of planning time but they may not bring anything to planning other than what they can carry in their brains. 

Things to Know About the Oral Presentation

  1. Teams will be required to develop a 10 minute presentation using presentation materials given to them: poster paper (like poster sized sticky notes), markers, pencils, rulers, tape.
  2. Every team will receive a set of mystery objects that pertain to the topic .  Teams are required to use the mystery object in their presentation.
  3. Presentations allow 5 minutes for questioning at the end.
  4. A team buddy will act as a proctor and time keeper during planning time.  Team buddies can time presentations but may not offer advice or coaching on how to improve the presentation; not even suggesting which parts of the presentation to lengthen or shorten for  timing purposes.
  5. Advisors are not allowed to communicate with students during the planning time.

A judging rubric will be furnished to team members before the Envirothon.

Teacher and Adviser info

In case you are wondering what you will be doing during the actual Envirothon, the answer is participating and planning.  Because of this, we will have a contact hour certificate for 10 hours whether or not you bring a team.

On Thursday afternoon, we will be holding a skills review.  Each of the four primary stations- aquatic ecology, soils, forestry and wildlife- will run their review twice.  Each skills review will last about an hour, maybe a little longer.  Advisors are encouraged to attend the skills review with their students.

The final hour of the skills review will be the Current Issue Overview.  Students will be allowed to take notes on paper that is provided.  All students will participate in this since all students have to participate in the presentation.  This will help give students a good baseline of information about Sustainable Range Management, this year’s current issue.

After the skills review, the teams will go into planning time for their Current Issue Presentation where they surrender their phones and any other resource except for the notes they took during the Overview.  They will be provided with all the materials they are allowed to use in the presentation including a mystery object.  (Think of the mystery ingredient in the Iron Chef program).

The team buddies will proctor planning time.  Students will not be allowed to consult with their advisors.  Depending on the availability of team buddies, I may ask teachers to serve as team buddies for a team on Thursday evening.

After planning time, students surrender their notes and all the materials associated with the planning. The purpose for all this collecting is to create a level playing field –  everyone starts with the same materials – as well as to help ensure that the work is, as much as possible, the students work and not that of their advisor or the resource guides.  They can only bring in what’s in their brain.  Talking and consulting with the teacher/advisor/guide book out of planning time is allowed here at the state level but they have to understand the material enough to internalize it when they go back into planning time.  Other than their initial notes from the Overview which they leave with their planning materials, students cannot bring any material with them into planning.

Thursday night is dinner and a cruise on the Capital City Queen, weather permitting.  Advisors will chaperon.

Friday is breakfast at the lodge at from 7:30-8:00.  Everyone will meet at 8:30 and go over the rules and expectations.  Teams with their buddies go to their site and competition starts at 9AM.  Right now, I should have enough buddies for Friday that teachers do not need to serve as a buddy. Teams have 45 minutes to answer the questions.  Teachers will visit the various stations in the morning.  How long the teachers  stay at each station is up the group.  Competition goes till 12:30PM.  A sack lunch will be provided and teams will go into planning time.

Teachers will have their own planning and prep time. There are three main topics for teachers to work on while teams are planning for their presentations:

  1. Preparation strategies: ideas and resources to prepare your teams
  2. Next year’s current issue: sustainable and local agriculture.  Content provided by Dakota Rural Action.
  3. Planning next year’s competition: where, when, how.  Provide feedback.

Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Lodging – 2013

Students and advisors will be lodged at the cabins at the Farm Island campground or at the Oahe Downstream Lodge.

The cabins sleep four bunk bed style.  The showers and flush toilets are scheduled to be turned on, depending on the weather but if they are not we will arrange access on Thursday evening to showers and bathrooms with running water for those staying at the campground.

The Oahe Downstream Lodge will be provided with cots. There are upstairs and downstairs levels and two showers and flush toilets.

Regardless of where students stay, they will need their own bedding (sleeping bag and pillow), a camp chair, clothes, toiletries and towel.  A hat and sunscreen is recommended. Closed toe shoes are required for the competition (no thongs or flipflops)  though shower shoes are always a good idea when using public bathing facilities.

Students should be aware that they may have to use a vault toilet during the competition.

Envirothon Schedule

A note of explanation about the team presentations: the team presentations are planned and executed without the advisors help. An impartial team advisor will be assigned to each team. Students will have to turn in their phones when going into planning time and when coming out of planning time they have to turn in their prep materials (notes, papers, posters).

And just as a housekeeping reminder, any teacher bringing a team receives a stipend.  All teachers, even those not bringing a team, receive reimbursement for mileage and their school can reimburse the cost of a substitute.

Below is the first draft of the Envirothon schedule. I’m interested in feeback and suggestions from teachers  and students.

All events start at the Oahe Downstream Lodge.


Teams arrive, check into lodging, team pictures

  • 10:00AM Oahe Downstream .Lodge available. Skill reviewers set up.
  • 1:00PM – 3:30PM Skills review. 
  • 3:45PM – 5:15PM Presentation on sustainable range management from experts.
  • 5:30PM – 6:30PM  Team presentation planning (no advisors, no phones, team buddies collect planning materials)
  • 6:30PM – 9:00PM Cookout and cruise on Capital City Queen
  • 9:00PM – Suggestions? After hours Discovery Center trip? Games? Skits?  YMCA time? Zesto trip? (If you are in Pierre, you have to do Zesto)
  • 11PM – Lights out


  • 7:00-8:00AM breakfast at the Lodge
  • 8:00AM Testing stations set up.
  • 8:15AM All Team Meeting. Go to first station to start competition right at 9AM.
  • 9:00-9:45 Station 1
  • 9:55 – 10:40 Station 2
  • 10:50 – 11:35 Station 3
  • 11:45 – 12:30 Station 4
  • 12:30 – 1:00 Lunch and start presentation planning
  • 1:00 – 3:00 Current issue presentation planning
  • 2:00PM – Current Issue presentation judges report to Oahe Downstream Lodge
  • 3:00 – 3:35  Current issue presentation, presentations are 15 minutes each (we will need 2 sets of judges)
  • 4:00 Announce scores.

Resources for Teachers

We are continually updating our study guides and resource kits.

Teachers who participate in Envirthon will be equipped with the following resource kits.

Wildlife Kit
– Coupon for one critter crate shipping reimbursement
– A complete set of SD Wildlife guides (whatever GF&P has in print)
– Tracks and Scat of the Great Plains
– Peterson Guide to Mammals.

Aquatic Ecology Kit
– Water quality testing kits (DO, pH, Phosphorous, Nitrates)
– Healthy Water, Healthy People guides
– Macroinvertebrate sampling resources

Soil Kit
– N-P-K soil fertility kit
– GLOBE Soil Color chart

– Clinometer
– diameter tape
– Winter tree finder