2017 Winter Workshop

The 2017 Winter Workshop will be held again at Worcester Technical High School.

Wednesday Feb 1, 2017

DUE TO WEATHER  2 hour delay.   Registration opens at 9:45, 1st session (scheduled 2nd) starts at 10:30.

TWO long sessions will be held for indepth explorations of our station areas and current issue topics.



Team Sign up form (please return to Brita by January 24)

This is a great chance to learn more about Envirothon and consider forming a team. If you are new to the program and would like to attend this workshop, please fill out the following contact form.

Fall 2016 UMass Amherst Workshop for coaches and teams

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Link to UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment’s article

Kick off the 2016-2017 Envirothon year with this introductory workshop.

  • Learn about this year’s current issue: Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation and get ready to investigate the soil and water issues in the gardens, farms, and forests (including urban forests) in YOUR community.
  • Get started on ecostation topics: soil, water, wildlife, and forest
  • Bond with your teammates and meet other students and coaches from across the state
  • Have fun and check out UMass Amherst!


8:30 Registration opens.  College of Natural Sciences reception for coaches. Welcome activities for Envirothon team members.

9 – 2:10 Opening and 4 concurrent sessions with a lunch break.

Current Issue topics and speakers:

Getting Started on Current Issue Research – Will Snyder (UMass Center for Agriculture)

  • Droughts and Flooding in MA? Now what? – Christine Hatch (UMass Dept of Geosciences)
  • Soil Formation – Isaac Larson (UMass Dept of Geosciences)
  • Principles of Soil Health I and II – Thomas Akin, USDA NRCS
  • Forest Ecology, Forest Soils, and the Drought – Lena Fletcher (UMass Department of Environmental Conservation)
  • Understanding Water Movement in Soils – Paul Barten, UMass Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Fertilizers, Runoff, and Water Quality – Holtze Wijnja, Massachusetts Dept of Agriculture
  • Wetland plants and Soils – Deborah Henson, UMass Environmental Science Program
  • Walking tour of soil and water issues at Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst – Jeremy Barker-Plotkin, Organic farmer
  • Tour the Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing lab – Tracy Allen, UMass Extension

Plus workshops by Envirothon curriculum leaders:

Forest: Joe Perry, Mass Department of Conservation & Recreation (Forestry)

Wildlife:  Walt Tynan, MassWildlife

Water:  Kelley Freda, Mass Department of Conservation & Recreation (Water Supply Protection)

Soil:  Al Averill, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


This workshop is free for registered teams. All other schools need to pay $10 per participant- these fees will be deducted from your program registration for this year.  Contact Brita Dempsey, Mass Envirothon Coordinator, for details at massenvirothon@gmail.com. Students should bring a lunch or plan on purchasing one at one of many UMass eateries. Parking is available at a small cost at the UMass parking garage. School buses and vehicles with state plates park for free – call for specific parking information.

2016-umass-workshop-final agenda

Other 2017 Workshops

Coaches Workshop 10.1.16

Outdoor Workshop for High School Teachers:

Hands-on Science in Massachusetts Ecosystems

Do you know how to calculate how many board feet of lumber that can be produced from a mature tree? Ever thought of finally mastering identifying trees in winter? Have you ever used an aerial photo to help analyze surrounding ecosystems for resources for wildlife or for determining potential water pollution sources? On the off chance that you don’t have a back hoe to dig your own soil pit, maybe you’d like a chance to measure soil horizons with Dr. Dirt himself?  All this and more at Mass Envirothon’s workshop for coaches on Saturday October 1.  Spend the day outside with natural resource professionals learning how to apply knowledge and work with new and experienced coaches to plan how to share this knowledge with your team.

Saturday, October 1  8:30 – 3:00

MassWildlife’s Wyane F. MacCallum Wildlife Management Area, Westborough

Read more…

Spring Workshop at Alden Research Lab

Representatives from 17 teams had a splendid day in Holden at the Alden Research Lab. Two morning sessions included opportunities to test water quality, use nets to catch macro-invertebrates and assess stream health, prep for Current Issue presentations, ID a fisher (among other critters!) and assess habitat for wildlife use, measure soil horizons and texture and yell MADCAPHORSE loud enough for the whole building to hear.  Alden Senior VP Dave Anderson toured a group through the lab complex and later gave an overview of all the different projects Alden is working on.  In the afternoon, teams visited stations in a “mini-envirothon” to get an idea about what the competition will be like in May.

Thanks Alden, for hosting us again! More pictures on the facebook page




2016 spring workshop, students in soil pit

2016 Ecostation Workshop

Worcester Technical High School hosted our winter workshop on Feb 4th. About 140 students from 15 teams attended sessions on Wildlife, Water, Soil, Forests, and how to get started on the Current Issue.  The USDA APHIS Asian Longhorned Beetle team presented on their work in the state. Kevin Scherer, Watershed Forester with the City of Worcester DPW & P lead a forest tour looking at impacts of invasive species.

Fall Workshop at UMass Amherst

200 Students and over 30 coaches from 22 teams attended our annual workshop at UMass Amherst.  Here’s a link to the agenda: 2015_UMass_workshop

Ecostation leaders were joined by 20 presenters from UMass Amherst and organizations like US Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees, MassAudubon, MDAR, Polatin Ecological Services, National Grid and the Asian Longhorned Beetle Program.

smart-phones-in-air invasive-spieces-demo umass-and-team UAV's-and-UMASS - Copy

Newton North team meets with Energy & Environment Secretary Matt Beaton

Members of the Newton North team meet with Secretary Beaton 8/21/15

Members of the Newton North team meet with Secretary Beaton 8/21/15

This is a quick post on this past Friday’s meeting between the Newton North team (fresh back from their 4th place finish at the NCF Envirothon in Missouri) and Matt Beaton, Massachusetts Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs.  The Newton North delegation included five team members from this year and previous winning years (Kavish Gandhi, Iris Liao, Bowen He, Christina Cong, Kaija Gahm), plus coach Anndy Dannenberg and parents Bonnie Southworth (who accompanied the team to Missouri) and Michelle Fineblum (who is also on the Mass Envirothon Council).  Joe Perry and Will Snyder were along for the ride.

The meeting lasted for nearly an hour as the team responded to the Secretary’s question about why they got involved, and why they put so much time into their Envirothon work.

Here are some points that the team articulated about why they were involved:

  • Through the Envirothon, the team gets acquainted with their local ecosystem (e.g. knowing tree species and where the best agricultural soils are).  They also learn how their local government makes decisions about environmental issues, and also get to know some of the people working on the issues. These are not things that are part of the regular school curriculum.
  • Envirothon also gives them a chance to work as a team, and this is an unusual and positive experience for students focused on academics.
  • Envirothon provides them with a more complex understanding of our connection to the natural world than elsewhere in the curriculum:  Nature is not just something to be appreciated and studied.  Our lives depend on ecosystem services.  So we need to learn to use what nature provides carefully and wisely.

Want to read more about Newton North’s exciting year? Check our their EnviroTrek.