Local teens take top honors at 2019 Mass. Envirothon

MA-Envirothon2019_Lexington

Lexington High School – 2019 Massachusetts Envirothon overall winning team

LEOMINSTER, Mass., May 17, 2019 – For the past school year, high school students across the commonwealth have been studying current and future prospects for growing, harvesting, and distributing food in their own home communities and across the Commonwealth. They presented their findings at the 32nd annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition on Friday, May 17th at Sholan Farms in Leominster, Mass.

The approximately 200 students from 29 Massachusetts communities also tested their knowledge of the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife as part of the competition.

At this outdoor field 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 testing. 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 on “Abundant, Affordable Healthy Food” to a panel of judges. Teams researched the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation. Each panel of judges included concerned citizens and environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to explore current and future prospects for growing, harvesting, and distributing food in their own home communities and across the Commonwealth.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Top Overall
1st Lexington High School
2nd Newton North High School
3rd Shepherd Hill Regional High School
Current Issue
1st Rockland High School
2nd Bristol County Agricultural High School
3rd Pioneer Valley Regional School
4th Shepherd Hill Regional High School
5th Newton North High School
Forestry
1st Newton North High School
2nd Lexington High School
3rd Shepherd Hill Regional High School
4th Pioneer Valley Regional School
5th Fitchburg High School
Wildlife
1st Newton North High School
2nd Lexington High School
3rd Shepherd Hill Regional High School
4th Pioneer Valley Regional School
5th Oliver Ames High School
Water
1st Newton North High School
2nd Lexington High School
3rd Pioneer Valley Regional School
4th Fitchburg High School
5th Brockton High School/Wildlands Trust
Soils
1st Lexington High School
2nd Shepherd Hill Regional High School
3rd Newton North High School
4th Deerfield Academy
5th Rockland High School

“These teams worked hard getting to know their local ecosystems and how their communities depend on them. We tested their scientific knowledge, but we also liked hearing 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 Kelley Freda of the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Water Supply Protection and Chair of the Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee.

“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 Freda. “And this annual competition actually becomes a festive gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts where students learn from the environmental professionals and the environmental professionals learn from the students.”

The overall winning team will have the opportunity to represent Massachusetts in the North American Envirothon, which will be held July 28th to August 2nd in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 2019 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.

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