Over 500 future environmental leaders from across North America will travel to Peterborough and be welcomed to Trent University this summer from July 24 to July 29, 2016 for the 2016 North American Envirothon (NAE), a unique educational program that takes students beyond the classroom to learn about natural ecosystems first-hand and build their skills as green leaders.

The NAE is the culmination of more than 50 state and provincial Envirothon programs in which students learn about the workings of our natural ecosystems and apply their skills and knowledge in science, resource management, and conservation to address environmental challenges. The top performing students at each state and regional program progress to the NAE to test their skills and knowledge against the best from across North America. This summer will be the first time that the NAE, a program associated with the National Conservation Foundation, has come to Ontario and over 500 students are set to participate.

“We’re delighted that so many outstanding high school students will be coming to Trent University to test their environmental knowledge and skills at the North American Envirothon, said Dr. Stephen Bocking, director of the Trent School of the Environment (TSE). “They’ll discover what so many other students have found: that our campus, with its diverse array of fields, forests, wetlands and 12 nature reserves is the best place in Canada to study the environment.”

“Forests Ontario is excited to have this opportunity to showcase Peterborough as a center for environmental education, research, and innovation,” said Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario. “Peterborough and the surrounding Kawarthas-Northumberland region is one of the Canada’s richest in natural resources, and landscapes and is home to many organizations demonstrating leadership in ecosystems management making it the perfect place to host this year’s event.”

“Peterborough’s strong connection to nature with a healthy urban forest, a large river and a small lake, a prominent section of the Trent-Severn Waterway canal system and vast park lands makes this community a natural setting for the North American Envirothon, which helps to nurture the connection between our future, our youth, and our environment, said Daryl Bennett, mayor of Peterborough. “We’re excited to showcase the natural wonders of Peterborough to visitors from across the continent and to be a part of inspiring young people to care for our natural ecosystems.”

Over the past 50 years, Trent has established itself as Canada’s top post-secondary environmental institution. With the recent launch of the TSE, which unites more than 20 environmental programs and research centres at Trent University under one umbrella, Trent has become the university of choice for future environmental leaders. Students participating in the NAE this summer will have the opportunity to access the many unique facilities at the TSE, including the world’s leading Water Quality Centre, top DNA and conservation genetics labs, an experimental farm, and a microenvironment laboratory, as well as meet and engage with environmental faculty members specializing in a full range of environmental topics.

Along with Trent’s expertise in the environmental sector, Peterborough boasts a thriving environmental sector and many other organizations have come together to support the 2016 NAE through sponsorship or by contributing to the development of learning resources for the program, including: Fleming College – the College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay has hosted the Ontario Envirothon for the past three years; the headquarters of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH); the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority.