2021 Current Issue

Water Management and Climate Change

For the 2021 Current Issue, Mass Envirothon teams will investigate a wide range of water issues in their home communities – including water supply, wastewater, and stormwater – and consider how these issues interact and how management must change as climate change accelerates. 

On the basis of their community research, teams will prepare a short video identifying a critical issue in their community and proposing the best way to address it.  They will discuss these findings and recommendations with a panel of judges via a zoom meeting.   The video’s content and the discussion with judges will be the basis for scoring.  

There are also three non-competitive awards that teams can earn in conjunction with preparing for the competition:  Community Research Award, Community Action Award, and (special for this remote year) recognition for high quality video presentations.

Here is an overview of most of the specifics for this year’s Current Issue:

What will teams investigate?

Teams will

  • investigate the management of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater in their communities, and how these critical functions are being affected by changing climate.
  • consider water’s role in the ecosystem as well as human uses.  Connections between water and forest, biodiversity, and soil resources must be part of their investigations.
  • identify a critical issue in their community and propose the best way to address it.

Some resources to get started on community research:

2021 Current Issue Framing Statement.  This is an overview of key aspects of the issue to be investigated.

2021 Current Issue Problem

2021 Current Issue Scoresheet

2021 Current Issue Community Research Checklist

Mapping program developed by MassGIS. Use of maps will be an essential element of your team presentation.  A tutorial screen pops up when you open the program. There is also a Webinar recording that walks you through the features.

Resources for the 2018 Current Issue: Partnering with Nature in Watersheds.  Many ideas and resource links here will be helpful in 2021.

How will teams present their findings?

To participate in the competition, each team will submit a stand-alone narrated video presentation AND participate in a zoom discussion with a panel of judges.  The video’s content and the discussion with judges will be the basis for scoring.

Judges will score teams based on the clarity and quality of their research and recommendations, as evidenced by the submitted presentation and their discussion with the team afterwards.

Judges will NOT score teams based on the technical quality or creativity of the video presentation.  (There is an opportunity for recognition of high-quality presentation – see below).

Presentations and discussions will be recorded, and the highest scoring presentations/discussions will be judged a second time by a final panel to ensure fairness.

Resources for teams preparing their presentations:

  • Introduction to the 2021 Current Issue Competition
  • The 2021 Current Issue Problem, Scoresheet, and Guidelines for Judging (all coming soon).  These include the specific question(s) your presentation will need to address, and the criteria the judges will use in scoring.
  • Technical specifications for presentations will be similar to those for the Mass Envirothon 2020 presentations.

Awards and recognition beyond the competition:

In addition to participation in the competition, teams may also earn recognition for their Current Issue work in the following ways.  These awards are noncompetitive.  Participation is open to all teams:

  • High-quality presentation (new for 2021!  Details in March).  Any team can submit their video presentation for review and critique by experienced media professionals.  Presentations that achieve a professional standard of quality will receive this award.
  • Community Awards (Introduction and Registration)
    • Community Research.  Any team that submits a completed 2021 Community Research checklist will receive this award.
    • Community Action.  Any team that engages in a community service/action project that puts to work what they learned in their research – and tells the story in a separate write-up/narrative – will receive this award.  The focus is on both community connection and impact/expected results.