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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 citizens and community groups, conduct environmental education field days and special educational projects. Below is a list of our Environmental Education Goals for the county:

Buncombe County Environmental Education Goals

  • Publish issues of Conservation Conversations Newsletter
  • Complete two autumn and two spring Environmental Education Field Days
  • Conduct classroom presentations
  • Conduct poster, essay, and slide show contests
  • Sponsor and assist  Enviro-thon teams and assist with Area I and State Enviro-thons
  • Work regularly with BCTV and County website to publicize our programs
  • Sponsor students to attend Resource Conservation Workshop
  • Maintain an educational booth at the Mountain State Fair, NC State Science Fair with other Area I SWCDs

Environmental Education Programs

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. Field Days are typically hosted in a pasture at Warren Wilson College Farm with a rain location at the WNC Ag Center Arena. We typically have 8 stations varying in topics including water cycle, forest, wildlife, invertebrates, recycling, agriculture, soils and more.

Presenters range yearly at the Field Day Events. Past presenters include representatives from Asheville Greenworks, NC Forest Service, Riverlink, Warren Wilson Farm Crew, Natural Resource Conservation Service, NC Cooperative Extension, NC Wildlife Association, Buncombe County Planning, and Buncombe County Soil and Water.


What is Envirothon? Envirothon is a fun, hands-on, natural science academic event that challenges and engages 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.

During the Area Envirothon, students rotate among the five stations listed above and hear presentations from resource experts, then take a test after lunch on each subject as a team — five tests in all. Tests are usually 20-25 multiple choice or T/F questions, though it varies depending on the test writer.

The mission of the North Carolina Envirothon Program is to provide and promote leadership in the knowledge of natural resources by offering a quality education program in: soils/land use, forestry, aquatic ecology, wildlife/habitat and current issues to the teachers, students and citizens of North Carolina.

Who can participate? Middle and high school students can compete in the Envirothon. Teams are made up of three to five students and teams must have an advisor (usually a teacher).

If you are interested in Envirothon contact or at 828-250-4787.

Special Exhibits

Buncombe County SWCD has an exhibit at the Mountain State Fair, NC State Science Fair and other Area I meetings to promote environmental education. We hand out education posters, flyers, lesson plans and other educational materials at these events.

Environmental Education Newsletter

  • We publish a quarterly Environmental Education newsletter called “Conservation Conversations.” Through this we inform our local community about current environmental and agricultural events in the area, and updates about our programs.
  • Please email if you are interested in receiving the newsletter.

Environmental Education Scholarships

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.
    DEA Scholarships c/o Dottie Jones Division of Soil and Water Conservation
    1614 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1614
  • NCDEA Scholarships Application

Resource Conservation Workshop

  • Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation District (BCSWCD) sponsors 2 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 mail completed application to Buncombe County Soil and Water Suite 49 Mount Carmel Road, Suite 101 Asheville, NC 28806 or email
  • RCW Scholarship Application

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 field 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. Area 1 counties include: Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey. Specific amount of scholarship will depend on funding available that year (several scholarships in the amount of $500 are expected). Awards decision will be made before end of school year. Area 1 North Carolina SWCD committee reserves the right to call candidates in for interviews before award decision is made.
  • Soil & Water Conservation Districts Scholarship Application- PDF | Word
  • Please submit application to: Davis Ferguson, 589 Raccoon Rd Suite 203 Waynesville, NC 28786 or electronically at


  • Poster Contest for Buncombe County Grades 3-6
    • 2015-2016 Theme is “We All Live In A Watershed”
    • There will be a 1st, 2nd & 3rd place award given in each grade level, 3rd-6th: 1st place - $50 cash 2nd place - $25 cash 3rd place - $15 cash (The teacher of the winning student will receive $50 gift card)
  • Essay Contest For Buncombe County 6th Grade
    • 2015-2016 Theme is “We All Live In A Watershed”
    • Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation District (BCSWCD) sponsors the 6th 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
    • Prizes: 1st Place: $50.00, 2nd Place: $25.00, 3rd Place: $15.00, BCSWCD Winning Teacher $50.00 Gift Card
  • Speech Contest For Buncombe County 7th  & 8th  Grade
    • 2015-2016 Theme is “We All Live In A Watershed”
    • Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation District (BCSWCD) 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
    • Prizes: 1st Place: $50.00, 2nd Place: $25.00, 3rd Place: $15.00, BCSWCD Winning Teacher $50.00 Gift Card


  • 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.

Please contact  if you are interested in having a presentation.


  • Camp WILD is a 5 day long summer day camp focusing on having fun while learning in the WILD outdoors!
  • The camp includes four day-long sessions (8am-5pm) and one over-night camping trip
  • 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 for Middle School students is the week of June 19 - 23, 2017. Download the schedule & camp information.
  • Camp WILD for High School students is the week of August 7 - 11, 2017. Download the schedule & camp information.


  • Project Wet: Project WET’s mission is to reach children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education that promotes awareness of water and empowers community action to solve complex water issues.
  • Project Wild: Project WILD is a wild-life focused conservation education program for K-12 educators and their students.
  • Aquatic WILD:  Aquatic WILD uses the format of Project WILD activities and training workshops but with an emphasis on aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecology.
  • Food Land and People:  Educating people about how Agriculture, the Environment and People connect.

If you are interested in having a workshop for your class or learning how to teach these workshops please contact

Environmental Educational Materials and Resources:

For More Information or Questions about the BCSWCD Environmental Education Program please e-mail or call 828-250-4787