When you’re nearly four decades into teaching school children about the environment –and getting them to think critically about it – you have to be doing something right.

And, certainly, Pennsylvania Envirothon, through its annual competition for high school students, has built a reputation for educating youngsters in creative, innovative ways. And for inspiring a national competition.

It’s why the PPL Foundation has supported the organization for a quarter of a century. Most recently, we gave $4,800 to Envirothon in 2020 to help the nonprofit train coordinators for the annual event, which is a hands-on, natural resource problem-solving competition.

The event began in 1979 as a local competition for a handful of conservation districts and evolved into a statewide competition in 1984. It has remained a constant in Pennsylvania education since. So much so that the organization kept the tradition going with a virtual event during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program reaches more than 40,000 students each year.

Teams of five representing schools from across the state study natural resource categories, such as soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues. Each team spends time before the competition with their advisors to prepare. At the competition, they use teamwork to come up with solutions to environmental problems. This year’s champion – Pleasant Valley High School from Monroe County – moved on to the international event in Nebraska.

Ultimately, Envirothon’s goal is to develop knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated youth who are willing and prepared to work towards achieving a balance between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. And that’s something we’re proud to support.