2016 Mass. Envirothon winners announced

Bay State teens show off their knowledge of the environment

MAEnvirothon2016_05122016_125846eLocal teenagers have been rewarded for their hard work and the environmental knowledge they gained in preparing for this year’s Massachusetts Envirothon, held on Thursday, May 12th at Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton, Mass. The top scoring teams in the outdoor field competition have been announced.

For the past school year, high school students across the Bay State have been studying soil, water, wildlife and forestry, as well as researching the role of human activity in the spread and control of invasive species as they participated in this environmental education program.

At the 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 can have up to 10 participants who 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 “Managing Invasive Species” to a panel of judges. Teams researched the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation.  Judges included environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess the effects of invasive species in their community and to recommend steps that their city or town and individuals, including young people, should take to address the issue.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall Score

  • 1st place – Newton North High School
  • 2nd place – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
  • 3rd place – Lexington High School

Current Issue Presentation

  • 1st place – Lexington High School
  • 2nd place – Greenfield High School
  • 3rd place  – Newton North High School
  • 4th place – Bedford High School
  • 5th place – Andover High School

Forestry Ecostation

  • 1st place – Lexington High School
  • 2nd place – Newton North High School
  • 3rd place – Newton South High School
  • 4th place – Mount Greylock Regional High School
  • 5th place – Pioneer Valley Regional High School

Wildlife Ecostation

  • 1st place – Lexington High School
  • 2nd place – Newton North High School
  • 3rd place – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
  • 4th place – Mount Greylock Regional High School
  • 5th place – Bedford High School

Water Ecostation

  • 1st place – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
  • 2nd place – Newton North High School
  • 3rd place (tie) – Mount Greylock Regional High School and Quabbin Regional High School
  • 4th place – Newton South High School
  • 5th place – Pioneer Valley Regional School

Soils Ecostation

  • 1st place – Deerfield Academy
  • 2nd place (tie) – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Newton North High School,   Oliver Ames High School, Pioneer Valley Regional High School, Brockton High School / Wildland Trust
  • 3rd place – Newton South High School
  • 4th place (tie) – Mount Greylock Regional High School, Monson Environmental Action Team
  • 5th place (tie) – David Prouty High School, Reading High School, Shepherd Hill Regional High School

“The Envirothon not only increases awareness of significant environmental issues, such as the spreading of invasive species, but most importantly, it engages and challenges young minds to think and prepare for possible solutions for future generations,” said Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“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 Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

The 2016 Massachusetts Envirothon is made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the 2014 Massachusetts Environmental Bond Bill, 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 12th to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

Bay State teens to focus on invasive species at 2016 Mass. Envirothon on May 12th

29th annual environmental competition to be held at Hopkinton State Park

HOPKINTON, Mass., April 13, 2016 – The spread of species to new regions of the globe has been an essential feature of biological evolution and the development of ecological communities. In the past century, however, the magnitude of change and ecological disruption has increased dramatically.

For the past school year, high school students across the Bay State have been researching the role of human activity in the spread and control of invasive species as they participate in the Massachusetts Envirothon environmental education program.

Those 250 students from more than 30 Massachusetts communities are headed to Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton, Mass. on Thursday, May 12th to share what they’ve learned about managing invasive species, as well as the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife as they compete in the 29th annual Massachusetts Envirothon.

“Invasive species can have long lasting effects on our native ecosystems, and the Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to managing, controlling, and where possible, eradicating them in order to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources,” said Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “The Envirothon not only increases awareness of significant environmental issues, such as the spreading of invasive species, but most importantly, it engages and challenges young minds to think and prepare for possible solutions for future generations.”

At the outdoor field competition 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 “Managing Invasive Species” 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 how invasive species may affect their community and to recommend steps that their city or town and individuals, including young people, should take to respond to the challenge.

“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 Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

“The Envirothon is more than just a competition about environmental knowledge. It’s a gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts.  It aims to prepare the next generation for the stewardship work that needs to be done,” said Snyder.

The 2016 Massachusetts Envirothon is made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the 2014 Massachusetts Environmental Bond Bill, 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 12th to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

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.

2015 Mass. Envirothon winners announced

Bay State teens focus on climate crisis

Newton North High School was the overall winner of the 2015 Mass. Envirothon.

Newton North High School was the overall winner of the 2015 Mass. Envirothon.

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (May 15, 2015) – A school year of preparation paid off for local teenagers who were rewarded for their knowledge of the environment at the 28th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. They were among more than 250 high school students from 30 Massachusetts communities from Boston to the Berkshires who descended on the Quabbin Reservoir on Thursday, May 14th for the outdoor field competition.

At the 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 can have up to 10 participants who 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 “Climate Crisis: Taking Action in Massachusetts Communities” to a panel of judges. Teams researched the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation.  Judges included environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess the effects of climate change in their community and to recommend steps that their city or town and individuals, including young people, should take to address the issue.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall Score

  • 1st place – Newton North High School
  • 2nd place – Lexington High School
  • 3rd place – Quabbin Regional High School

Current Issue Presentation

  • 1st place – Quabbin Regional High School
  • 2nd place – Leicester High School
  • 3rd place (tie) – Leominster High School, Newton North High School, Newton South High School
  • 4th place – Greenfield High School
  • 5th place – Wildlands Trust/Brockton High School

Forestry Ecostation

  • 1st place – Newton North High School
  • 2nd place – Lexington High School
  • 3rd place – Quabbin Regional High School
  • 4th place – Acton Boxborough RHS
  • 5th place – Newton South High School

Wildlife Ecostation

  • 1st place – Newton North High School
  • 2nd place – Lexington High School
  • 3rd place – Quabbin Regional High School
  • 4th place – Leominster High School
  • 5th place  – Acton Boxborough RHS

Water Ecostation

  • 1st place – Quabbin Regional High School
  • 2nd place – Leominster High School
  • 3rd place – Newton North High School
  • 4th place – Wildlands Trust/Brockton High School
  • 5th place  – Ashland High School

Soils Ecostation

  • 1st place – Newton North High School
  • 2nd place – Lexington High School
  • 3rd place (tie) – Leominster High School, Newton South High School
  • 4th place – Wildlands Trust/Brockton High School
  • 5th place – Shepherd Hill Regional High School

“Climate change is one of the most challenging issues the Commonwealth will face in the near and long term, and the Baker-Polito administration is dedicated to ensuring Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in addressing this issue,” said Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.  “I am pleased that Envirothon gives students from across Massachusetts the opportunity to learn about the environment and brainstorm ways to prepare our state for the effects of climate change.”

“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 Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

“The Envirothon is more than just a competition about environmental knowledge.  It’s a gathering of the environmental community of Massachusetts.  It aims to prepare the next generation for the stewardship work that needs to be done,” said Snyder.

The 2015 Massachusetts Envirothon was made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the U.S. Forest Service; the Massachusetts Grange; Environmental Business Council of New England; 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 on hand on May 14th 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 http://www.maenvirothon.org.