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Environmental Education

Our Environmental Education program provides educational and outreach programs to students from kindergarten through college. We publish educational newsletters and brochures, make presentations to residents and community groups, conduct environmental education field days and host special educational projects.

Educational Programs

Field Days, Envirothons, Contests, and Camp WILD

Environmental Education Field Days

We host Environmental field days in the Spring and fall for two days each season hosting 5th grade classes in Buncombe county.

Environmental Field Days are hosted in a variety of locations such as Warren Wilson College, Black Mountain Community Gardens, Big Ivy Community Center, and several Buncombe County Middle Schools. During the course of the day, students travel to nine outdoor stations on the day of the event where they learn about soils, reptile ecology, stream ecology, the water cycle, wildlife, pollinators, waste reduction, elk, forestry, and falconry from resource specialists. Students spend about 20 minutes at each station and participate in hands-on learning activities. Our goal is to teach students how to protect and conserve their natural resources while exposing them to potential careers in natural resource conservation.

Presenters range yearly at the Field Day Events.

  • Asheville Greenworks
  • NC Forest Service
  • Riverlink
  • Warren Wilson Farm Crew
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • NC Cooperative Extension
  • NC Wildlife Association
  • Buncombe County Planning
  • Buncombe County Soil and Water


Envirothon is a fun, hands-on, natural science academic event that challenges and engages middle and high school students to think critically about the natural world and their role in it.

Envirothon combines an in-class curriculum with outdoor training to help students learn and to experience more about aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and current environmental issues.


Camp WILD is a 5 day long summer day camp focusing on having fun while learning in the WILD outdoors!

We explore some of the local sights and attractions of WNC while learning about how to conserve, protect, respect, and enjoy the wilderness. Camp WILD is open to current Envirothon students and remaining slots will be determined on an application process of current 6th-12th grade students. The camp includes four day-long sessions (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) and one overnight camping trip.

The cost for the camp will be a non-refundable $30 deposit thanks to a generous Envirothon Grant from The Pigeon River Fund. For more information about Camp WILD please contact the Environmental Educator.

Camp WILD 2020


Below are the contests for 2019-2020 with the theme "Wetlands are Wonderful".

Poster Contest—3rd-6th Grade

  • There will be a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place award given in each grade level:
    • 1st Place - $50.00
    • 2nd Place - $25.00
    • 3rd Place - $15.00

    The teacher of the winning student will receive $50 gift card.

Essay Contest—6th Grade

  • BCSWD sponsors the 6th Grade Essay Contest for the NC Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts. The Education Coordinator will come out and do a presentation for your class.
    • 1st Place - $50.00
    • 2nd Place - $25.00
    • 3rd Place - $15.00

    The teacher of the winning student will receive $50 gift card.

Speech Contest—7th-8th Grade

  • BCSWD sponsors the 7 & 8th Grade Essay Contest for the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Education Coordinator will come out and do a presentation for your class.
    • 1st Place - $50.00
    • 2nd Place - $25.00
    • 3rd Place - $15.00

    The teacher of the winning student will receive $50 gift card.

Environmental Education Scholarships

Three scholarships for students in the Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation District.

N.C. District Employee's Association Scholarships

One Student Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to a child of a current DEA member or Associate member enrolled or planning to enroll the fall after High School graduation in an accredited college/university. Applications will be ranked based on grades, financial need and the one-page essay submitted with the application. Extra points will be awarded to students pursuing studies in a natural resource related field.

One Professional Growth Scholarship in the amount of $500 will be awarded this year for courses taken at any accredited educational institution. Attainment of a degree is not required, and expenses related to the Natural Resources Leadership Institute are eligible for scholarship funds. A more detailed list of qualifications is on the first page of the application.

Deadline for NCDEA Student Scholarship Application—February 1, 2020

Mail completed applications to:

DEA Scholarships
Division of Soil & Water Conservation
1614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1614

Resource Conservation Workshop

Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation District sponsors two students to attend the Resource Conservation Workshop at NC State University. This workshop offers lectures along with hands-on and outdoor activities related to soil, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues. Registration fees, most meals, and transportation will be provided by BCSWCD. Students may want to bring some spending money, but most expenses will be covered by the district. If you would like to nominate a student or students please have them complete the application and submit it to BCSWCD. After applications are returned a short interview of the applicant may be required in early May.

Please send completed application via email to Rose Wall and Jen Knight or mail to:

Buncombe County Soil & Water
49 Mount Carmel Road, Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28806

Area 1 Soil & Water Conservation Districts Scholarship Application

High school students interested in pursuing a college major in the studies of agriculture, field science, conservation, energy, natural resources, environmental science, or related fields are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to high school seniors, however all high school students can apply as well as students already enrolled in college that are from Area 1.

Specific amount of scholarship will depend on funding available that year (several scholarships in the amount of $500 are expected). Award decisions will be made before the end of the school year. The Area 1 North Carolina SWCD committee reserves the right to call candidates in for interviews before award decision is made.

Area 1 Counties

  • Buncombe
  • Cherokee
  • Clay
  • Graham
  • Haywood
  • Henderson
  • Jackson
  • Macon
  • Madison
  • McDowell
  • Mitchell
  • Polk
  • Rutherford
  • Swain
  • Transylvania
  • Yancey

Please submit application via email to Davis Ferguson or mail to:

Davis Ferguson
589 Raccoon Rd, Suite 203
Waynesville, NC 28786


We can bring our education to you—contact us at (828) 250-4787 if you or your organization is interested.

Special Exhibits

BCSWCD has an exhibit at the Mountain State Fair, NC State Science Fair, and other Area 1 events that help promote environmental education. We hand out education posters, flyers, lesson plans, and other educational materials at these events.


We provide presentations to classes, civic organizations, libraries, community clubs, and others. Topics vary but are all surrounding environmental education including soils, water cycle, aquatic life, recycling, wildlife, conservation of natural resources, agriculture, and more.

Locate & Contact

Soil & Water Conservation District - Environmental Education


Rose Wall and Jen Knight
Environmental Educators
P: (828) 250-4787

Soil & Water Conservation District
49 Mount Carmel Road, Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28806

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.