Bay State teens compete in Mass. Envirothon at Quabbin Reservoir

“Achieving a Zero Waste Future for Massachusetts” was the Current Issue

Lexington High School – The overall top scoring team

BELCHERTOWN, Mass., May 12, 2022 – For the past school year, 100 high school students from 14 Massachusetts communities across the commonwealth have been studying the possibility of achieving a zero-waste future for Massachusetts, as well as increasing their knowledge of soils, water, forests and wildlife. They tested their knowledge and presented their findings at the 35th annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition on Thursday, May 12th at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, Mass.

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.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team gave a 15-minute presentation on “Achieving a Zero Waste Future for Massachusetts” to a panel of judges. Teams had been researching 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 envision a zero-waste future and what changes would be required in how we produce, distribute, sell, and use products and services as a society to achieve it.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall:

1.Lexington High School
2.The Groton School
3.Shepherd Hill Regional High School
4.Doherty Memorial High School
5.Acton-Boxborough Regional High School

Current Issue presentation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.The Groton School, Blue team
3.Doherty Memorial High School, Gold team

Forests ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
3.Lexington High School, Green team

Soils ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.The Groton School, Green team
3The Groton School, Blue team

Water ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Lexington High School, Green team
3.The Groton School, Blue team

Wildlife ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Lexington High School, Green team
3.The Groton School, Blue team

“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 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 24-30, 2022 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

The 2022 Massachusetts Envirothon is 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, Smithfield Foods, the Society of Soil Scientists of Southern New England, 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 for the competition to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

For this year’s event, compostable products were sourced for the food tent and City Compost and the Millbury Environmental Council assisted in sorting waste, resulting in less than a grocery bag of waste for the landfill. For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

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