Soil and Water - Education Print
Departments - Soil and Water Conservation





Education is a big part of what soil and water conservation districts are all about. From our Conservation Field Day and FFA Land Judging competition in the fall to the variety of student contests we offer in the winter to Envirothon in the spring and YES Camp in the summer (not to mention Awards Night, teacher workshops, classroom visits, Hay Field Day and other activities -- whew!) it's safe to say we have an extensive, year-round education program. Teachers can call on us for resource materials such as a wide variety of free posters and items from our lending library including DVDs, CDs (music) and books.

Teachers, don't miss the many great resources you can find by visiting the list of conservation education links offered on the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCASWCD) web site.



CONGRATULATIONS to Noal Castater, named 2015 Conservation Education Teacher of the Year during the District’s Awards Night in February! Noal is an Agriculture teacher at Waynesville Middle School. Students in his classes learn about growing plants without soil (aquaponics), raising fish (aquaculture) and chickens, vermicomposting and also regularly make trips to the creek to learn more about water quality! Needless to say, Mr. Castater’s classes are both fun and popular – but more than that, his students are learning lessons in sustainability that can benefit them personally as well as our planet!


The Area 1 Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts offer a $500 scholarship for high school students interested in pursuing a college major in the studies of agriculture, field science, conservation, enregy, natural resources, environmental science or a related field.


The District's five contests, entitled “Wetlands are Wonderful”, are history now. One hundred and eighty-six participants from 3rd grade through 9th grade learned more about wetlands this year through the use of art, writing, speaking or computer design. The top four in each category were honored during Awards Night. The District staff and Board of Supervisors wish to thank each and every one whose contributions made the contests and Awards Night a special experience, including teachers, parents, those who served as contest judges, Polly’s Florist, the Waynesville Ingles and certainly all those hard-working students! May the sight of a dragonfly or cattail forever remind you of the treasures that wetlands have to offer!



ENVIROTHON is an exciting, fun outdoor competition for middle and high school teams made up of five students. Prior to the event, teams study with their advisor – usually a teacher -- in the subject areas of Aquatics, Forestry, Wildlife, Soils and Current Environmental Issues. At the Area 1 Envirothon, teams rotate between 5 stations and learn from resource experts, and then following lunch take an exam as a group at each station. The top scoring 7 middle and top 7 high school teams qualify for competition at the North Carolina Envirothon at Cedar Rock Park in Burlington.

The Area 1 Envirothon, sponsored by the Area 1 Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, was held at the Mountain Research Station on Raccoon Road on Friday, March 13th. A total of 35 teams competed, with ten Haywood teams representing Tuscola High, Haywood Community Learning Center, Waynesville Middle School and Canton Middle School. Big congratulations go to FIRST PLACE middle school winners “O’possum, My Possum” (advisor Tim Shepard, CMS) and 4th place “Mountaineer Mayflies” (advisor Amy Tiller, WMS). Those teams will travel to Burlington on April 24th to compete in the North Carolina Envirothon.

The NC Envirothon is sponsored by the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts with assistance from the Division of Soil and Water Conservation (NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services).

To learn more about Envirothon, rules and the educational materials visit the North Carolina Envirothon web site:

Advisors and students wishing to form an Envirothon team and participate in the competition in 2016 should contact Education Coordinator Gail Heathman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 828-452-2741alt, extension 131.



The YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship) Camp is a week-long day camp for middle school students who are interested in learning more about the environment. Each morning we meet in the parking lot at Tuscola High School and go on a different adventure -- we may hike in the mountains, search in a stream for macroinvertebrates like mayflies and caddisflies, dig up soil to examine in a lab setting, search for salamanders at Purchase Knob, experience a big chill going down Sliding Rock or any number of other fun (and educational!) activities. The camp is led by two local high school teachers and the cost is low, thanks to a generous grant from The Pigeon River Fund. The first week of camp is scheduled for June 22-June 26. Week II, for students who attended last summer, will be held July 13-17. For more information, contact Gail Heathman at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 828-452-2741alt, extension 131.


RESOURCE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP: In June the District sponsored two high school students at the Resource Conservation Workshop in Wake County. Jacob Hunt and Samantha Beasley, both Tuscola High School students, were selected based on their interest in natural resources. They joined students from across the state, spending an intense week crammed with outdoor study and classroom instruction on a variety of topics in the field of environmental science. The District was proud to have Jacob and Samantha represent Haywood County!

TEACHER WORKSHOPS: We're happy to set up workshops for formal and informal educators if they have a request for a particular workshop such as Food, Land & People or Project WET. The workshops are fun, informative and teachers leave with a book brimming with lesson plans to fit their needs, plus resource materials and door prizes. Just call (828-452-2741alt, ext. 3) or email Gail.

HAYWOOD SWCD IN THE NEWS! Click here to read a story about our summer camp, first published in The Mountaineer.


Resources for Educators, Students

Related Links



Haywood SWCD sponsors the following educational activities and programs:

  • Conservation Field Day for 5th graders
  • Lending Library (videos, DVD's on a variety of natural resource-related topics)
  • Envirothon Teams
  • FFA Land Judging Contest for high school students
  • Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) Camp for 8th and 9th graders
  • Poster Contest for 3rd, 4th & 5th graders
  • Essay Contest for 6th graders
  • Slide Show (PowerPoint) Contest for 6th graders
  • Speech Contest for 7th and 8th graders
  • Computer designed Poster Contest for 9th graders
  • Enviroscape Demonstrations (all ages - water pollution)
  • Classroom visits
  • Resource Conservation Workshop at NCSU
  • Workshops for teachers

Haywood SWCD is pleased to join other agencies and organizations in the following projects:

  • Hay Field Day -- Sponsored by the Mountain Research Station, NC Dept. of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service and Haywood SWCD
  • Ag Career Day for middle and high school agriculture students
  • Kids in the Creek -- Sponsored by Haywood Waterways

Read about our Pink Francis Memorial Scholarship

We are available to do programs on a variety of environmental issues for groups of all ages. Just call us.