In response to the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, the Massachusetts Envirothon program replaced its annual large outdoor in-person competition with an experiment in online team presentations.
We told teams that this was not intended to be an academic exercise; we were asking them to produce a video that presented a message they felt was important for their communities to hear. We provided a review process to provide feedback that would help them sharpen and clarify their presentations if they chose.
The Lexington High School Envirothon team took us up on the challenge. Their video is linked above. A sample of review comments on their presentation is below.
Sample reviewer comments on Lexington 2020 Envirothon Video Presentation
- This team seemed to look at how the pandemic is affecting their community and how the changes made in the interest of human health protection can have long-lasting impacts on the environment.
- The current response to the pandemic shows that we are capable of change, even if it requires a bit of a push.
- Broad understanding of local and global environmental impact of the stay at home order (both good and bad). Good use of graphics and broad participation.
- The ‘lessons learned’ from the covid-19 experience could be transferrable to ways to address climate change, and the issues climate change present to the natural environment
- Our response to the pandemic shows that we are capable of making changes, and this bodes well for our potential to respond to climate change.
- This presentation is amazing. Loved the use of graphics, science and clear and articulate communication. I particularly loved the graphic of the plastics bags falling down over the globe and the calculations.
- Appreciate that they embraced COVID, and showed a silver lining of these challenging times, while also reflecting on some of the downsides (such as rolling back plastic bag bans).
- Well communicated. Concise and professional.
- The presentation shows the team assimilating local and global information about response to environmental crises. Lots of examples that point in positive directions. Good examples of resilience!
- The listing of measures that we can take to enhance the environment both during and after the pandemic is very effective. Worthy of bringing forward to local officials.
- I thought the small changes message was a good idea!
- Your presentation on the survey did not do justice to the amount of work that you put in to this part of the project. You could have taken another 30 seconds to describe the survey – how it was prepared, how it was distributed, number of respondents, etc. That background would provide more validity to your analysis and conclusions. The chalkboard insert calculating vehicle emissions was a very powerful tool to make your point.
- The final transition making the connection between COVID-19 and climate change, with the need for persistence, was very inspiring.
- Again, super job under the cloud of the pandemic. Thank you for putting in the hard work preparing for the Envirothon. Stay well.
- The local recommendations were based on survey results. The big takeaway from the group is that analysis of problems like they did can lead to the resilient human spirit solving other problems.
- The team included a slide that listed simple lifestyle changes; I found this to be one of the best visuals and recommendations I have seen during this pandemic!
- The recommendations do seem to address the heart of the problem. This pandemic came on suddenly and caused great upheaval; the recommendations seem to recognize this and try to advise going forward that preparedness, independence and resiliency are keys to success and consideration.
- I particularly like the fact that a poll was conducted with 70 responses to get a sense of how the community viewed the current situation.
- I don’t know if they did this themselves, but the globe with someone dropping pastic on it made me laugh, and worked well here. This presentation also did a really good job of bringing up questions that made me think, things I had not thought about before, like the concept of overproduction when businesses reopen, and how China’s pollution levels have already bounced back post-COVID-19.
- The group introduced itself and its mission in the beginning. The oral presentations and graphics clearly represented the work of the entire group. Great collaboration!
- Curious if they have a few suggestions on the changes we have made (or should make) that they think would be the most meaningful/environmentally impactful?
- The fact that this team polled their community and looked for input was great; I love that they found people are doing more gardening and have more appreciation for nature!
- When they brought up the issue of people starting gardens, and needing to be home more to care for them, I thought that was a great point. Also, I know I mentioned this a couple of times already, but the overproduction concept, I would like to learn more about that.
- Some of the supporting graphics flew by too quickly to be effective. Since they were often presented picture-in-picture they could be left on the screen longer if you talked just a little slower.
- I think and hope that this team has developed new interpersonal skills, has seen the magic of teamwork, and goes on to be the leaders of this world.
- a very inspiring message!