Local teens take top honors at 30th annual Mass. Envirothon

Lexington High School

Lexington High School was the overall winner of the 2017 Mass. Envirothon.

LINCOLN, Mass., May 18, 2017 – The message from teenagers who participated in this year’s Massachusetts Envirothon environmental education program was clear: local agriculture is booming in Massachusetts. For the past school year, they’ve been researching farming in their communities – from urban community gardens to rural orchards and pastures, from row crops to working forests – and assessing its benefits and its effects on local land and water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity.

Those 250 students from nearly 40 Massachusetts communities converged on Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, Mass. on Thursday, May 18th to compete in the 30th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. At the event, they presented what they’ve learned about agricultural soil and water conservation, and tested their knowledge of the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife.

At the outdoor field competition event, teams rotated through four “ecostations” where they answered written questions and engaged in hands-on activities such as soil analysis, wildlife habitat assessment, tree identification, and water quality measures. Each team had up to 10 participants and split into specialized sub-teams during the competition, each focusing their efforts at different ecostations.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team gave a 15 minute presentation to a panel of judges about their research into “Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation” in their own community.  Each panel of judges included concerned citizens and environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess the potential for producing local food, given the soil, water, and people resources in their community, and to recommend what might be done to protect and enhance soil health and water quality at the same time.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall Score

1st place           Lexington High School
2nd place          Newton South High School
3rd place          Newton North High School

Current Issue Presentation

1st place           Newton North High School
2nd place          Lexington High School
3rd place (tie)     Leicester High School
Brockton High School / Wildland Trust
4th place          Shepherd Hill Regional High School
5th place          Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School

 Forestry Ecostation

1st place           Lexington High School
2nd place          Newton North High School
3rd place          Newton South High School
4th place          Essex Technical High School
5th place          Bristol County Agricultural High School

Wildlife Ecostation

1st place           Lexington High School
2nd place (tie)    Newton South High School
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
3rd place          Newton North High School
4th place          Essex Technical High School
5th place          Pioneer Valley Regional High School

Water Ecostation

1st place           Newton South High School
2nd place          Essex Technical High School
3rd place          Lexington High School
4th place          Newton North High School
5th place (tie) Rockland High School
Innovation Academy Charter School

Soils Ecostation

1st place           Newton South High School
2nd place          Deerfield Academy
3rd place          Lexington High School
4th place          Doherty Memorial High School
5th place          Worcester Technical High School

“For years, the Envirothon has been challenging Massachusetts students in an effort to educate and prepare solutions for environmental,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By engaging today’s youth on subjects such as farming, we are ensuring the next generation will have the passion, dedication, and desire to ensure Massachusetts’ agricultural sector continues to thrive in every region of the state.”

“These teams work hard getting to know their local ecosystems and how their communities depend on them. We test their scientific knowledge, but we also like to hear their stories about how they have gotten muddy, cold, and tired, and otherwise had fun and fallen in love with nature in their neighborhood. The best hope for the future comes from engaged, scientifically literate citizens who care about their communities and the environment,” said Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

“Envirothon makes environment science relevant to students’ lives by connecting them to real places, real environmental issues, and real people who are working to protect the environment. It demonstrates how scientific understanding of how natural systems work can inform and inspire solutions to the environmental challenges we face today and in the future,” said Kris Scopinich, Director of Education, Mass Audubon. “We could not be more thrilled to have hosted the next generation of conservation leaders at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm. These students inspire all of us and keep us hopeful for our future.”

“The Envirothon is more than just a competition about environmental knowledge.  Many teams have taken what they’ve learned and put it to work in an action/service project in their community.  The program aims to prepare the next generation for the stewardship work that needs to be done,” said Snyder. “And this annual competition actually becomes a festive gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts. At informal lunchtime roundtables after the competition, teams will share stories from their EnviroTreks – places they visited, people they talked to, outdoor experiences, and service projects – during the past year.”

The 2017 Massachusetts Envirothon was made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts Grange, Environmental Business Council of New England, Wegman’s supermarkets and local conservation districts.

Fifteen federal and state environmental agencies, conservation districts, non-profit organizations, higher educational institutions, and businesses provide expertise and help organize the event. Dozens of volunteers were also on hand to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s