By Carly Burton
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Pocatello, Idaho: the location of the 2018 NCF-Envirothon competition.
Pocatello is a city sprinkled with hills (and mini-volcanoes that still steam!) nestled between mountains and flat farmland. It shares a portion of its land with the Fort Hall Indian Reservation and is known as the U.S. Smile Capital and the “Gateway to the Northwest” for its part in delivering pioneers, gold miners, and settlers to the Oregon Trail. While attending the 2018 competition, Envirothon competitors, advisors, and guests will get to see and experience what life was like on the Oregon Trail.
While out in Pocatello, I met with the Idaho host committee, as well as other local, state, and federal officials that will be instrumental in making this competition a successful one, including representatives from Idaho State University, where the 2018 competition will be held. ISU looks to be a great location, from the dormitories where we’ll be housed, to the dining facilities, to Reed Gymnasium, where most of the daily programs will occur.
The fifth topic of study this year for Envirothon competitors to master will be “Western Rangeland Management: Balancing Diverse Views.” This topic is especially relevant to Idaho, home to prairies, grasslands, sagebrush steppe habitat, and woodland areas. In the western United States, rangelands comprise more than 40 percent of the total productive land base. Rangelands sustain an abundance of forage for both livestock and wildlife and are critically important ecosystems in the West. To learn more about the 2018 “current topic,” visit www.envirothon.org.