New Brunswick student Caroline Wilson measures the height of a tree at the 15th annual Envirothon.

“It helps with knowing the age and the strength,” she explains, “and say you were going to cut it down, it would help with knowing the volume of it.”

Wilson and 49 other students from around the province are competing in the annual event that tests environmental knowledge and skills.

“They’re learning a lot about the environment science fields,” says program coordinator, Becky Geneau. “They’re getting outside, hands-on experience from some of the different fields within the environment science and specialists from wild life forestry, aquatic ecology and soils and land use.”

Ten teams of students spent the day digging, searching and documenting their findings in the woods at a camp in Saint John.

Each team has to complete a series of tasks that puts their knowledge to the test.

“They’re learning issues that we’re being faced with today in terms of balancing the environmental, social and economic aspects involved in political discussions,” says teacher Anthony Nolletti. “So it really exercises their critical thinking.”

“It’s encouraging because what we’ve got here is a whole new crop of foresters coming through,” says naturalist Kelly Honeyman. “Some of them will take forestry, some of them will take environmental studies within the forestry positions and they are the ones who will be holding the torch and keeping forestry in the province.”

This year’s Envirothon continues into Monday, where students will give oral presentations.

The winning team will receive prizes, scholarships and a trip to the states to compete. 

Many of the students involved plan to further their education in environmental studies, all with hopes of landing a career in the field of making the Earth a better place.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Blackford.