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.