Coaches and teams: Are you recruiting new team members? Looking for fall activities that will pay off at the competition next spring? Hungry for new knowledge, skills, and connections? Want to strengthen your teamwork?
The September Challenge is totally optional and noncompetitive. But it can help your new or experienced team to get a running start on the Envirothon year!
(And even if you don’t participate in the Challenge, your team can still get an early start by contributing to the 2019 Mass Envirothon EnviroTrek Story Map – – with pictures and captions and map points, etc. about your best local places for getting acquainted with wildlife, water, soils, forests, and agriculture.)
This year’s Current Issue – Abundant, Affordable, Healthy Food – is particularly suited for early fall community explorations. If your team takes this opportunity for a head start, you may find ways that you can really contribute toward solutions in your community!
Here’s the two part Current Issue September Challenge (You can do one or the other, or both!):
Visit a farmers market. Talk to people who make the food system go. Take note of where their farms are and what they grow. Use our special GIS survey to map what you find.
Join in the harvest. Find a way that you can participate in getting food from field to table. Get your hands on food! Document what you do in pictures and captions, and add it to the 2019 EnviroTrek Story Map.
Whatever you choose to do, post your pictures and stories to the Mass Envirothon 2019 survey and EnviroTrek story maps (see Specifics below).
Specifics for the September Challenge
Visit a farmers market.
- Find a local market (You can find one at the Mass Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) website: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/farmers-markets)
- Plan a visit toward the end of the market day, when vendors will be less busy. Contact the manager of the market. He or she might be able to point you toward vendors who would be interested in chatting. You can also volunteer to help pack up the market after it closes – a cool service opportunity.
- Talk to farmers and others with booths at the market. Maybe you will want to focus on just one or two, or maybe you’ll survey the whole market.
- Take note of the following:
- Farm name and geographic location
- Farm’s best-selling food product in June
- Farm’s best-selling food product in September
- If they have time, get their thoughts on: What do you wish the Massachusetts public understood better about Massachusetts farms and abundant, affordable, healthy food?
- Post your findings! You can help build a map of Mass Envirothon farm contacts by following the instructions here: [https://arcg.is/09zb8W]. This exercise will introduce you to a fun and valuable resource for GIS mapping and online surveys.
Join in the harvest.
- Play a part in the work of picking, storing, distributing, preparing, and serving local produce. A wide variety of hands-on, people-to-people experiences are possible, from gleaning to participating in community meals. And by the way, September is Hunger Action Month! (See https://secure.feedingamerica.org/site/SPageNavigator/Pass_the_Plate.html). Here are some places to start looking for opportunities:
- Gleaning is harvesting surplus farm crops, preventing waste, and nourishing local families:
- Visit/volunteer with a food bank:
- Additional volunteer opportunities may be found through these organizations:
- Feeding America: http://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/volunteer/
- Ample Harvest: http://ampleharvest.org/
- Food for Free: http://www.foodforfree.org/
- Project Bread: http://www.projectbread.org/building-the-food-system/
- You can also Pick Your Own:
- MDAR’s links to farms across Massachusetts: https://www.mass.gov/guides/pick-your-own-farms
- Post your experiences – with pictures and captions and locations – to the 2019 Mass Envirothon EnviroTrek Story Map: [ https://arcg.is/0yOvy8 ]
Participating teams will get special recognition this fall and at the May 2019 competition!
For more information / assistance with GIS mapping and data collection, contact Ann Witzig at email@example.com
Other questions about the Challenge? Contact Will Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org