Environmental Education

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Durham SWCD and Environmental Education
Because the District works hard to protect Durham County’s natural resources, we know that without educating the public about their environment, our other programs and projects would be for naught. That’s why the District is dedicated to encouraging and sponsoring a strong and active Environmental Education Program for all age groups.
  • Students and Teachers -We offer a number of educational opportunities and events throughout the school year for Pre-K – 12th-grade students. Contests, events, presentations, activities, camps and more are an ongoing part of the whole year. Teachers can find information on all programs and happenings in the Annual Teacher's Newsletter
  • Adults - Environmental Education doesn't stop at graduation...we offer a number of adult environmental education learning opportunities throughout the year. 

Below is a listing of our major environmental education programs

Student/Teacher Programs and Resources:

Education Activities

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt

 Teacher's Newsletter: Our annual newsletter for teachers and parents will guide them, through the different programs, projects and events happening during the school year. To join our teacher newsletter mailing list, please email lmarochak@dconc.gov


2020 Environmental Field Days -dates TBD 

 Attention Third Grade Teachers…Bring your students out for a day of learning and fun at the Durham County Environmental Field Day Event!                                                             

Students will meet resource professionals in various fields, participate in hands-on     science activities and learn about nature and the environment in a natural setting. The learning opportunities for the students meet several grade level competencies set by the NC Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI). For more information or to sign up contact Lisa Marochak 919-560-0558 or lmarochak@dconc.gov. Deadline to register - TBD.

Flyer- will be posted by August 2020


Classroom Presentations: Available for Pre-K - 12th-grade classes and age groups. We have activities and lesson topics for a variety of natural resource topics. Popular presentations include; soils/erosion, watershed models, wildlife, water quality and more... Please contact us at 919-560-0558 to learn more.

District Environmental Education Learning Library: Thanks to a generous grant from Target, the District has started an Environmental Education Learning Library for Pre-K - 3rd graders. Books can be checked out by local educators for use in the classroom. For more information and a list of books available, please visit our Learning Library webpage here.


2019-2020 Conservation Contests: Annual conservation-themed contests that will promote students' attitude of stewardship for our natural resources. For information detailing the current year theme, rules, tips and more, please click on the links below for the contest you are interested in.

2020-2021 Theme: We all live in a Watershed  (Will be posted spring 2020)

All contests have been correlated to the NC DPI Essential Standards and the Common Core State Standards. Correlations are available upon request!

Contest Winners

To see our County winners from the past, please check out the following links:

The 2019-2020 contest theme was 'Wetlands are Wonderful'. 

2020 Conservation Contest Winners

2019 Conservation Contest Winners

2018 Conservation Contest Winners 

2017 Conservation Contest Winners 

2016 Conservation Contest Winners 

2015 Conservation Contest Winners 

2014 Conservation Contest Winners 

2013 Conservation Contest Winners

2012 Conservation Contest Winners

2011 Conservation Contest Winners

2010 Conservation Contest Winners


Bookmark Winners

2019 Bookmark Contest Winners


Envirothon LogoEnvirothon: The Envirothon program is a hands-on environmental science and natural resources competition for middle school and high school students. 5 member teams of students study, train and are then tested on their knowledge of 5 subject areas: Aquatics, Soils, Wildlife, Forestry and Current Environmental Issues.

Through outdoor activities, teamwork, critical thinking, leadership skills training and more, the Envirothon Program is helping to develop tomorrows informed leaders today! Durham has an active Envirothon Program and is committed to its growth. District staff will work with each team to coordinate the necessary supplemental training they need to succeed.

For more information on Durham County's Envirothon Program, please contact Mike Dupree 919-560-0558 or email mdupree@dconc.gov for information on the NC Envirothon program in general (in which Durham teams compete) check out the NC Envirothon website.  

Due to COVID-19 the 2020 Area, State, and National Envirothon Competitions have been cancelled.  

NC Resource Conservation Workshop: Week-long camp for high school students interested in conservation and natural resources. Students will spend the week at NCSU learning about a wide range of conservation areas of study for college and careers for after graduation.  Unfortunately, The 2020 RCW was CANCELLED due to COVID-19.  *

Durham County Big Sweep: Big Sweep is an annual clean-up event held each fall targeting trash in our waterways and watersheds. Classes and Schools are encouraged to participate to clean up their campus and beyond to help the environment. Students can earn community service hours by participating. For more information on Durham County's Big Sweep, please visit www.durhambigsweep.org 

Teacher's Workshops: The District staff are registered facilitators of the Project Food, Land & People (FLP), Project WOW! Wonders of Wetlands and Project Learning Tree teacher's curriculum's. Project FLP is a 55 lesson plan curriculum for pre-K to 12th grade that promotes approaches to learning to help students understand the interrelationships among agriculture, the environment and people around the world. Project WOW! is a fun, hands-on workshop that will teach educators to classify various wetland habitats, identify basic wetland characteristics, and understand basic functions and values of wetlands. PLT is an interdisciplinary environmental education program designed for educators of ANY background, using trees to facilitate the exploration of topics including communication, economics, energy and fuels, geology, government, history, recycling, transportation, watersheds, wildlife, and much more!

Teachers who are interested in participating in an upcoming FLP, WOW! &/or PLT workshop is encouraged to call us at 919-560-0558 to learn more.

Teacher of the Year Award: In recognition of outstanding conservation educator in Durham County. Open to all Elementary, Middle and High School teachers in Durham County who have incorporated conservation and environmental education into their classroom curriculum. Nominate yourself or an outstanding teacher you know. Applications are due to the Durham SWCD by 5 pm on April 24, 2020. For complete rules and application please click the below link.

  • Conservation Education Teacher of the Year Award application


     Adult Education Resources and Awards:

    Annual Durham Pond Clinic: Each spring the Durham District sponsors an Annual Pond Clinic for the public. Topics Covered include pond construction, pond management, weed control, pond wildlife and more. For more information on this year's Pond Clinic, please click on the below link.

    • Pond Clinic Flyer - (coming Spring 2020)

    Conservation Awards: The District recognizes outstanding Durham County citizens each year with the following awards:

    • Big Sweep Group of the Year Award
    • Urban Conservationist of the Year Award Application- deadline is April 2020
    • Gold Star Achievement Award
    • Durham County Farm Family of the Year Award
    • Durham County Farm Heritage Award
    • Durham County Forester of the Year Award

    Interested in joining our e-mail list?