Smithfield Foods, Inc., has announced its donation of scholarship awards for the National Conservation Foundation's 2016 North American Envirothon Championship where 250 high school students compete in teams to demonstrate their knowledge and environmental problem-solving skills.

The 2016 NAE Championship is the final round of an environmental education program and competition that attracted more than 50,000 high school students across the U.S. and Canada. In teams, students competed in hands-on and in-class activities to demonstrate knowledge of soils and land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, wildlife, and current environmental issues. The winning teams progressed to the 2016 NAE Championship. The Smithfield-sponsored scholarships were awarded to competition winners during the awards presentation on July 28.

"The National Conservation Foundation congratulates not only the winning team, but all the students who participated in this year's competition," said Tim Reich, vice chair of the NCF Board of Trustees. "We are so proud of all of the students' efforts and commitment to helping preserve our natural resources."

In addition to scholarships, Smithfield employees donate their time and expertise to the program. During the annual and regional competitions, many Smithfield employees serve as volunteer advisors in local communities to lead training sessions, facilitate program curriculum, and coordinate activities.

"Envirothon's mission to empower students to become environmental stewards aligns with Smithfield's commitment to the environment and supporting the vitality of local communities," said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. "At Smithfield, we are confident that many of these students will one day play a meaningful role in addressing environmental concerns."

Smithfield Foods actively supports the National Conservation Foundation for its efforts to advance environmental stewardship through education, aligning with both Smithfield's environmental initiatives and efforts to support the vitality of local communities. Smithfield's industry-leading sustainability program is focused on five pillars: animal care, environment, food safety and quality, helping communities and people.