United States Earth Science Organization

Training Camp

The USESO Training Camp is a week-long residential program that takes place each year at the University of Vermont. The program includes a variety of challenging exercises in the field, guest speakers, and team projects designed to prepare students for representing the United States at the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO). At the conclusion of the camp, we announce the eight students selected for the U.S. Earth Science Team for the IESO later in the summer.


All Training Camp participants must be:

  • Selected to attend from the National Open Exam
  • Attending grades 9-12 in the spring prior to Camp
  • Fluent in English, the official language of the IESO
  • A permanent resident of the United States (i.e. a U.S. citizen or green card holder

Students do not need to have a U.S. Passport to participate in USESO programs or the IESO.

National Open Exam

Participants for the Training Camp are chosen from students achieving outstanding scores on an exam of general Earth science (past exams are available for practice).

The top scoring 40 students will be accepted with no more than ten students may come from the same state each year. Younger students may also take the exam for experience, but cannot attend the Training Camp.

The link to register for the next Open Exam will be posted on our home page.

Training Camp

40 qualifying students from the National Open Exam may attend the Training Camp in Vermont. Students are expected to come with a solid foundation in Earth science in order to be well-prepared for camp activities. Throughout the program, students will:

  • Go on field trips and conduct field investigations
  • Attend lectures from guest speakers
  • Conduct research using self-collected data and online resources
  • Work in teams on projects similar to the challenges at the IESO


Further, students are given daily exams to assess knowledge and skills gained both prior to and during the summer program. Upon conclusion of camp, scores will be considered along with the team investigations to select the members of the U.S. Earth Science Team.

U.S. Earth Science Team & IESO

Each year, the top four qualifying students from the Training Camp are selected for the U.S. Earth Science Team (international team). 

In most years, up to four additional guest students may travel with the team. While guests cannot qualify for individual medals, they may participate and earn awards in international team events where students from up to ten countries collaborate on projects examining real-world issues. The USESO recognizes the importance of the IESO international team events for representing global work essential in the field of earth science.

USESO has attended the international event since the first IESO in 2007. Past USESO students have achieved numerous gold and silver medals in the individual competition, the best practical exam, and more international team awards than any other country.

Gallery - Camp & IESO