This is a quick post on this past Friday’s meeting between the Newton North team (fresh back from their 4th place finish at the NCF Envirothon in Missouri) and Matt Beaton, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs. The Newton North delegation included five team members from this year and previous winning years (Kavish Gandhi, Iris Liao, Bowen He, Christina Cong, Kaija Gahm), plus coach Anndy Dannenberg and parents Bonnie Southworth (who accompanied the team to Missouri) and Michelle Fineblum (who is also on the Mass Envirothon Council). Joe Perry and Will Snyder were along for the ride.
The meeting lasted for nearly an hour as the team responded to the Secretary’s question about why they got involved, and why they put so much time into their Envirothon work.
Here are some points that the team articulated about why they were involved:
- Through the Envirothon, the team gets acquainted with their local ecosystem (e.g. knowing tree species and where the best agricultural soils are). They also learn how their local government makes decisions about environmental issues, and also get to know some of the people working on the issues. These are not things that are part of the regular school curriculum.
- Envirothon also gives them a chance to work as a team, and this is an unusual and positive experience for students focused on academics.
- Envirothon provides them with a more complex understanding of our connection to the natural world than elsewhere in the curriculum: Nature is not just something to be appreciated and studied. Our lives depend on ecosystem services. So we need to learn to use what nature provides carefully and wisely.
Want to read more about Newton North’s exciting year? Check our their EnviroTrek.