Quabbin Video 2020

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 Quabbin Regional High School Envirothon team took us up on the challenge.  Their video is linked above, along with a link to an annotated version of the presentation.  A sample of review comments is below.

Sample reviewer comments on Quabbin 2020 Envirothon Video Presentation

  • [The message I heard was that] They are resilient. We will rebuild.
  • Covid outbreak is causing a system breakdown in things like food production. Covid may make people reevaluate and modernize systems so we can be better able to handle another crisis like Covid. Also implies we might be able to handle other issues like climate change.
  • This presentation did an excellent job of pointing out the concept of resilience and that humans are both naturally resilient (engaging in hobbies and helping each other) and that Covid is having unanticipated consequences that are making us more resilient in other ways (carbon reduction). You then tie that all together well by stating that if we really care about an issue, this is showing us that we can do something about it.
  • We are in this together. The younger generation has the motivation and ability to get through this.
  • Going through this challenging situation will help us to better prepare for future challenges. It will give communities confidence to address challenges. The motto ‘we can, if we care’ stood out to me!
  • The pandemic has had a negative impact because it has disrupted societies, economies, and distribution systems, including food distribution. On the other hand, decreased activity has lessened greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The pandemic helped the students realize how important community is, and came up with some ideas on how to keep community support going in the future.
  • The pandemic has exposed systemic problems that need to be addressed so that we can better face future global problems. The pandemic shows how we can adapt to a crisis and enhance our sense of community- resilience.
  • The pictures do a great job of showing their community which helps to make me believe in their message “we are resilient.”
  • Glad I looked at the PowerPoint – the first slide is much sharper than the video and slide 9 that shows the air pollution changes doesn’t show 2019/2020 changes in the video it stays on one year and is static. Please change these since of all the videos, this one is the most visual and encourages personal responsibility for posting.
  • I really liked the imagery. The pictures showed what you love about Quabbin and how it fits into the larger world and the science (graphs) of what is happening.  I also like the music and the tonal quality of the narrator.  The overall effect was very calming and positive.
  • The presentation was great for a unity message for the greater Quabbin community, but wasn’t clear from the beginning what it’s underlying thesis was.
  • Appreciated that they talked globally about the issue, but rooted it in local information and affects.
  • Great job. Maybe a bit more of hard science supporting your facts.
  • The presentation provides some insight in how the Quabbin community deals with this situation. It would have been nice if the video included an introduction of team members.
  • Visually appealing but limited on information
  • Interesting and in some places, really touching presentation.
    • The supplemental Google slides really helped tie this presentation together
    • I hope the students will think more about how to prevent returning to old habits once restrictions of COVID-19 are eased
    • Audio was great, and whoever did the voiceovers, great delivery!
    • I thought the comparison between COVID-19 and climate change was good (needing to support and provide food for families in times of crisis)
    • The idea about needing to get first-hand accounts of impacts of COVID-19 on local folks to engage the rest of the community is an excellent idea!!
    • The one thing I think could improve the video would be to reduce the silence/delay between slides. It was so long on a few of the transitions, I thought my computer was glitching!”
  • The presentation nicely explains some of the beneficial and adverse effects of the pandemic and makes some suggestions regarding what might be done to better prepare for future global problems.
  • [It would have been helpful to have] More historical info on the resiliency of the area (rebounding after the Quabbin reservoir buried towns in the area, dairy farms prevailing despite the downturn in dairy farms in the area), more BoH info on how COVID-19 is impacting their communities directly would have been beneficial.
  • It needed some additional data on how the economics or other social issues impacted the environment – maybe how much food waste, or how many farmers in their community were impacted.
  • Community interviews (impossible at this time but would’ve given additional perspectives)
  • Contact local farmers to find out impacts of the pandemic. Find out how pandemic has influence water and energy consumption in your member towns.
  • would have helped to hear more about the background of the community, more details, that make it what it is today
  • I appreciated the early message about forcing us to reevaluate what is important; everyone can reevaluate ones own actions to make change
  • The students understand the need for resiliency and seem to see this in their own community.
  • It really sounded like the speakers were speaking from the heart, slide of pets showing “what is important” in these times
  • The contrast between pictures taken in the community and the charts and graphs depicting the pandemic are jarring. This could be an effective presentation technique with a little more development.
  • This is a different kind of presentation and must have required a lot of team discussion.
  • There wasn’t a lot of text or voiceover, but the message still got across.
  • the beauty of quabbin area shone in the presentation
  • I was glad we were specifically told about the presentation slides, so I could visit that also. There were a few points made on those slides that I don’t think were mentioned (or at least not articulated as clearly) in the video.
  • A little unsure on concrete steps that are encouraged to be taken.
  • Yes, they suggest that the people are more resilient than the systems they have created. For example, they focus on food shortage because the supply chain is tenuous. Meanwhile, thousands of new vegetable gardens are popping up all over based on individuals working things out on their own.
  • There is a breakdown of systems that has been made apparent during this pandemic that needs to be solved for the economics, humanitarianism and health of our country.
  • This presentation is very effective as a reflection on what the pandemic “pause” has FELT like to young people in this area of central Massachusetts. To me, the graphs and charts suggest the world beyond your community that you know is affecting you but the effects aren’t really clear.  I wondered whether you know people in other places that are feeling the disease and economic hardship more acutely.
  • I really enjoyed this presentation and it delivered some challenging information in a very digestible way which is really important when communicating difficult subjects with the general population, that by and large, may not appreciate science in the way that we do.
  • Team did well to focus on the issue at hand, and present how it has changed them personally as well as how it’s changed the planet/environment. Appreciated the personal touches, and creative approach to a potential solution.  . . .
  • I loved this presentation. The additional slides were very helpful and contained a lot of great information. The slide of pets as what is important to this team for some reason hit me really hard, and the entire presentation was heartfelt. The team is absolutely correct with their thoughts that people take action when it affects them. This could be one positive of this pandemic. Putting together a presentation while adhering to social distancing is difficult but a few more speakers would’ve added to it. Well done.