Local teens take top honors at 2018 Mass. Envirothon

MA-Envirothon2018_NewtonNorth

Newton North High School was the overall top scoring team at the 2018 Mass. Envirothon.

UXBRIDGE, Mass., May 18, 2018 – For the past school year, high school students across the commonwealth have been studying watersheds, water infrastructure and the impact of recent damaging storms in their community, and formulating steps their local leaders can take to protect land and water ecosystems in the watershed.

They presented their findings at the 31st annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition on Friday, May 18th at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Mass. The approximately 200 students from 27 Massachusetts communities also tested their knowledge of the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife as part of the competition.

At this outdoor field event, teams rotated through four “ecostations” where they answered written questions and engaged in hands-on activities such as soil analysis, wildlife habitat assessment, tree identification, and water quality measures. Each team had up to 10 participants and split into specialized sub-teams during the competition, each focusing their efforts at different ecostations.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team gave a 15-minute presentation on “Partnering with Nature in Watersheds” to a panel of judges. Teams researched the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation. Each panel of judges included concerned citizens and environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess water infrastructure resources and needs, identify an important partnering opportunity, and make specific recommendations for action.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall Score
1st Newton North High School
2nd Lexington High School
3rd Pioneer Valley Regional School
Current Issue
1st Brockton High School / Wildlands Trust
2nd Greenfield High School
3rd Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
4th Newton North High School
5th Lexington High School
Forestry
1st  (tie) Newton North High School
Lexington High School
2nd Pioneer Valley Regional School
3rd Brockton High School / Wildlands Trust
4th Shepherd Hill Regional High School
5th Newton South High School
Wildlife
1st Newton North High School
2nd Lexington High School
3rd Pioneer Valley Regional School
4th Newton South High School
5th Bristol Country Agricultural High School
Water
1st Doherty Memorial High School
2nd Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
3rd Newton North High School
4th Reading Memorial High School
5th Newton South High School
Soils
1st Lexington High School
2nd Newton South High School
3rd Newton North High School
4th Pioneer Valley Regional School
5th Fitchburg High School

The overall winning team will have the opportunity to represent Massachusetts in the North American Envirothon, which will be held July 22-28 in Pocatello, Idaho.

“By engaging students on real-world environmental issues, the annual Massachusetts Envirothon improves students’ problem-solving skills and creates lifelong passions for preserving and protecting our natural resources,” said state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Massachusetts’ watersheds are vital sources of drinking water and native species habitat, and this year’s competition provided students with the opportunity to learn about their local watersheds and brainstorm solutions to keep them clean and safe.”

“These teams work hard getting to know their local ecosystems and how their communities depend on them. We test their scientific knowledge, but we also like to hear their stories about how they have gotten muddy, cold, and tired, and otherwise had fun and fallen in love with nature in their neighborhood. The best hope for the future comes from engaged, scientifically literate citizens who care about their communities and the environment,” said Kelley Freda of the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Water Supply Protection and representative of the Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee.

“The Envirothon is more than just a competition about environmental knowledge.  Many teams have taken what they’ve learned and put it to work in an action/service project in their community.  The program aims to prepare the next generation for the stewardship work that needs to be done,” said Freda. “And this annual competition actually becomes a festive gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts. At informal lunchtime roundtables, teams shared stories from their EnviroTreks – places they visited, people they talked to, outdoor experiences, and service projects – during the past year.”

The 2018 Massachusetts Envirothon is made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts Grange, Environmental Business Council of New England, Wegman’s supermarkets and local conservation districts.

Fifteen federal and state environmental agencies, conservation districts, non-profit organizations, higher educational institutions, and businesses provide expertise and help organize the event. Dozens of volunteers were also on hand to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

Local teens to compete at 2018 Mass. Envirothon on Friday, May 18th

Partnering with Nature in Watersheds is 2018 current issue

UXBRIDGE, Mass., April 26, 2018 – For the past school year, high school students across the commonwealth have been studying watersheds, water infrastructure and the impact of recent damaging storms in their community, and formulating steps their local leaders can take to protect land and water ecosystems in the watershed.

They’ll present their findings at the 31st annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition on Friday, May 18th at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Mass. The approximately 200 students from 27 Massachusetts communities will also test their knowledge of the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife as part of the competition.

“By engaging students on real-world environmental issues, the annual Massachusetts Envirothon improves students’ problem-solving skills and creates lifelong passions for preserving and protecting our natural resources,” said state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Massachusetts’ watersheds are vital sources of drinking water and native species habitat, and this year’s competition provides students with the opportunity to learn about their local watersheds and brainstorm solutions to keep them clean and safe.”

At this outdoor field event, teams will rotate through four “ecostations” where they will answer written questions and engage in hands-on activities such as soil analysis, wildlife habitat assessment, tree identification, and water quality measures. Each team will have up to 10 participants and will split into specialized sub-teams during the competition, each focusing their efforts at different ecostations.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team will give a 15-minute presentation on “Partnering with Nature in Watersheds” to a panel of judges. Teams have been researching the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation. Each panel of judges includes concerned citizens and environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess water infrastructure resources and needs, identify an important partnering opportunity, and make specific recommendations for action.

“These teams work hard getting to know their local ecosystems and how their communities depend on them. We test their scientific knowledge, but we also like to hear their stories about how they have gotten muddy, cold, and tired, and otherwise had fun and fallen in love with nature in their neighborhood. The best hope for the future comes from engaged, scientifically literate citizens who care about their communities and the environment,” said Kelley Freda of the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Water Supply Protection and representative of the Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee.

“The Envirothon is more than just a competition about environmental knowledge.  Many teams have taken what they’ve learned and put it to work in an action/service project in their community.  The program aims to prepare the next generation for the stewardship work that needs to be done,” said Freda. “And this annual competition actually becomes a festive gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts. At informal lunchtime roundtables, teams will share stories from their EnviroTreks – places they visited, people they talked to, outdoor experiences, and service projects – during the past year.”

The overall winning team will have the opportunity to represent Massachusetts in the North American Envirothon, which will be held July 22-28 in Pocatello, Idaho.

The 2018 Massachusetts Envirothon is made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, the U.S. Forest Service, the Massachusetts Grange, Environmental Business Council of New England, Wegman’s supermarkets and local conservation districts.

Fifteen federal and state environmental agencies, conservation districts, non-profit organizations, higher educational institutions, and businesses provide expertise and help organize the event. Dozens of volunteers will also be on hand on May 18th to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

2018 PARTICIPATING TEAMS (as of April 26, 2018)

  • Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Acton
  • Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton
  • Brockton High School, Brockton
  • David Prouty High School, Spencer
  • Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, North Dighton
  • Doherty High School, Worcester
  • Essex Technical High School – Natural Resource Management, Hathorne
  • Fitchburg High School, Fitchburg
  • Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech High School, New Bedford
  • Greenfield High School, Greenfield
  • Leicester High School, Leicester
  • Lexington High School, Lexington
  • Millbury Jr./Sr. High School, Millbury
  • Newton North High School, Newton
  • Newton South High School, Newton
  • Norfolk County Agricultural High School, Walpole
  • Oliver Ames High School, North Easton
  • Pioneer Valley Regional School, Northfield
  • Plymouth South High School, Plymouth
  • Quabbin Regional High School, Barre
  • Reading Memorial High School, Reading
  • Rockland High School, Rockland
  • Seekonk High School, Seekonk
  • Shepherd Hill Regional High School, Dudley
  • Somerset Berkley Regional High School, Somerset
  • Southeastern Regional Voc-Tech High School, South Easton
  • Springfield Central High School, Springfield

Prospective Coaches Program

Join us at the May 18 Competition to experience the excitement of our annual competition!

Massachusetts Envirothon special program for Prospective Coaches and Community Partners
Thursday May 18:  2018 Massachusetts Envirothon Competition
Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge.
8:30-2

Are you looking for ways to help high-school-aged young people connect with real people, real places, and real science issues in their own communities?  Are you interested in learning more about local environmental issues and natural resources yourself?

Special program and lunch for prospective coaches.  View a current issue presentation, tour the ecostations, network with current coaches, attend a session on the 2019 current issue or go on a short hike with a park interpreter. Grants may be available to help cover registration, transportation, or a substitute teacher.  Teams do not have to be school based!

Draft Event Schedule  Directions

To receive a final schedule and RSVP, fill out the form below by May 10:

 

Spring Workshop @ Alden Lab 4.7.18

Please join us at Alden Research Laboratories in Holden MA on Saturday April 7 for our spring workshop.

14-IMG_5396

Registration opens at 8:45.

Concurrent sessions with ample time for hands-on learning at all 4 station areas: Wildlife, Water, Soil and Forestry as well as the 2018 Current Issue: Partnering with Nature in Watersheds.

2018_Alden_workshop Final Agenda

9:00 – Welcome

9:15-10:25 Concurrent Session 1

10:30-11:40 Concurrent Session 2

11:45-12:15 Lunch – Bring your own lunch

12:15-12:55 Keynote in Auditorium

1-3:30 Mini-Envirothon

Curious about what to expect on competition day? Want to try out some questions to see if you’re ready? Teams will visit 4 stations for 25 minutes each. Short hands-on tests will be administered and then discussed at Forest, Water, Wildlife and Soil.  The Current Issue station will get teams to review their research so far and think about what it will take to make an effective presentation.

To Register, send an email to massenvirothon@gmail.com with a list of student names. Final numbers must be received by Wednesday March 28.

2018 Winter Workshop Wrap Up

We had 71 students and 19 coaches from 12 teams attend the Feb 9 workshop. Maggie Payne taught the soils sessions, Pam Landry taught teams how to use a field guide and how to determine wildlife habitat from aerial photographs, Kelley Freda did water quality and a special session on how to design a rain garden,  Joe Perry’s crews were (of course) loudly enthusiastic identifying and measuring trees, and many folks had fun working with the stream table with Christine Hatch from UMass Extension. MWCC staff were welcoming and easy to work with- a big thanks to Mt Wachusett Community College for hosting us!

Agenda

2018 Winter Workshop at Mt Wachusett Community College

2018 Winter Workshop at Mt Wachusett Community College

Please join us Friday February 9, 2018 at Mt Wachusett Community College in Gardner.

Daniel M. Asquino Science Center - MWCC Gardner Campus

Registration opens at 8.

Concurrent sessions with ample time for hands-on learning at all 4 station areas: Wildlife, Water, Soil and Forestry as well as the 2018 Current Issue: Partnering with Nature in Watersheds.

Full Agenda

8:40 – Welcome

8:50-10:20 Concurrent Session 1

10:25-11:50 Concurrent Session 2

11:50-12:25 Lunch – Bring your own or try the Cafeteria line- lots of great choices!

12:30-2:00 Concurrent Session 3

To Register, send an email to massenvirothon@gmail.com with a list of student names. Final numbers must be received by Monday January 29.

Directions to Mt Wachusett Community College

Park in Lot C  (parking lot map)

Enter into the South Cafeteria

Fall Workshop @ UMass Amherst 11.15.17

Fall Workshop for Coaches and Teams

UMass Amherst Campus Center

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Link to UMass article

Kick off the 2017-2018 Envirothon year with this introductory workshop.

  • Learn about this year’s current issue: Partnering with Nature in Watersheds
  • 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!

UMass.17.18 Final Agenda

8:30 Registration opens, teams are paired with UMass students for a welcome as they arrive.

9 – 2:15 Introduction followed by four concurrent sessions with a lunch break.

Current Issue topics and speakers:

  • Getting Started on your Community Research – Will Snyder (UMass Extension)
  • Forests -The Living Filter – Paul Barten  (UMass Department of Environ. Conservation)
  • Forest patches in a developing landscape: structure, function, importance (Field session) – Lena Fletcher (UMass Dept. of Environ. Conservation)
  • Managing runoff and water quality with a green-infrastructure, a landscape approach – Jack Ahern  (UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning)
  • Wetland Functions & Wetland Soils – Deborah Henson (UMass Environmental Science Program)
  • Climate change, flooding and Riversmart Communities – Christine E. Hatch ( UMass Dept of Geosciences)
  • Natural Remedies for Pollution in Massachusetts Watersheds – Paula Rees (UMass College of Engineering)
  • Green Infrastructure:  Cleansing and Managing Stormwater – Mark Lindhult (UMass Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning)
  • How Climate Change and Land Use are Affecting Watershed Systems – Timothy Randhir  (Department of Environ. Conservation)
  • Dams, Urbanization, Climate Change, and Fish – Rebecca Quiñones, Ph.D. (MassWildlife Rivers and Streams Project Leader)
  • Thinking Globally and Acting Locally:  The Role of Conservation Commissions in Protecting Wetlands, Open Space and Water Resources – Dorothy A. McGlincy, Executive Director  & Michèle A. Girard, Associate Director and Education Coordinator, Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions
  • Effective Community Advocacy 101 & Maximizing Ecosystem Services: Watershed Scale Conservation – Stefanie Covino, Coordinator of Shaping the Future of Your Community Program, Mass Audubon
  • Citizen Watershed Groups – Jennifer Bowman, Connecticut River Conservancy
  • Study tour of Morrill Courtyard- C. Kim Jaworski-Bruschi, (UMass Facilities)
  • Green Roof Tour of Integrated Learning Center- Lauren Healey, (student,  UMass Department of Environmental Conservation)
  • Study Tour of the UMass John W. Olver Design Building – Stormwater Management Infrastructure- Paul Barten (UMass Department of Environmental Conservation)Sara Lawler (UMass Dept of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning), &
    Peggi Clouston, (UMass Department of Environmental Conservation)

And introductory workshops by Envirothon curriculum leaders:

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

Wildlife:  Pam Landry, 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 annual program registration.  Contact Brita Dempsey, Mass Envirothon Coordinator, for details. 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.

Download the sign up form: UMass workshop mini agenda17.1

Mass Envirothon Best Management Practices Tours, West Boylston

Join Kelley Freda, Environmental Analyst with the DCR-Division of Water Supply Protection for a tour and discussion of several structural best management practices (BMPs) around the Wachusett Reservoir watershed.  We will visit several raingardens, an infiltration basin, a large bioretention area, and gravel wetland.  This will be a great introduction to this year’s current issue topic on the use of green infrastructure and environmental engineering!  Although the tour will be fairly informal, Kelley will talk about how each works, why they were constructed, some design considerations, the differences between them, and of course, some water quality.  We will need to drive to a couple of close by locations as not all are within walking distance.

You are all welcome to stay and explore and observe the watershed after the tour. We have a bog (Poutwater Pond), beaver ponds, streams, wetlands and historical areas.

Meet at DCR Main office, 180 Beaman Street, West Boylston at the flagpole entrance parking lot.

Three tour dates are offered:

Sunday, October 8, 2017 1:30-4 Columbus Day weekend (The Wachusett Reservoir Dam located in Clinton is also open to the public to walk across the top on this day from 10-1. It only happens 2 times a year! Bring your cameras if you plan on staying)

Thursday, October 12, 2017 4-6pm

Saturday, October 14, 2017 10-12am

Tours are free, but you MUST register in advance, at least 3 days before the tour.

Lexington HS Envirothon team successful at the 2017 NCF Envirothon

lexington_nationals_2017.jpg

Five members of the Lexington High School Envirothon team traveled to Maryland with their coach to represent Massachusetts at the 2017 NCF Envirothon.  They had a great time and came in 15th place overall.  Here is a video they put together describing their year and the competition:

Congratulations, Lexington!