Lexington High School heading to Ohio for the NCF Envirothon!

Congratulations to Lexington High School for taking first place at the 35th annual Massachusetts Envirothon! These 5 fabulous Lexington High School students have earned a spot at the National Conservation Foundation’s Envirothon Competition at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio at the end of July. They need your help to get there!

The Lexington Green Team heading to a station at the May 12th competition

Nayrie, Robin, Eileen, Caroline and Jamie worked hard this year to prepare for the Massachusetts Envirothon and they swept the field on May 12 taking 1st place in every category: Water, Wildlife, Soil, Forestry and Current Issue. They were determined to win and we know they will excel in Ohio!

We are so excited to have them represent the Commonwealth at the International NCF Envirothon.  Teams are gathering from almost every state and province in the US and Canada and will be joined by teams from China after two long years of virtual events.

Can you make a donation to help them travel to Ohio? Your tax deductible donation to Mass. Envirothon will help offset team travel expenses. Click here to Donate today!

Bay State teens compete in Mass. Envirothon at Quabbin Reservoir

“Achieving a Zero Waste Future for Massachusetts” was the Current Issue

Lexington High School – The overall top scoring team

BELCHERTOWN, Mass., May 12, 2022 – For the past school year, 100 high school students from 14 Massachusetts communities across the commonwealth have been studying the possibility of achieving a zero-waste future for Massachusetts, as well as increasing their knowledge of soils, water, forests and wildlife. They tested their knowledge and presented their findings at the 35th annual Massachusetts Envirothon competition on Thursday, May 12th at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, Mass.

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 testing. Each team had up to 10 participants.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team gave a 15-minute presentation on “Achieving a Zero Waste Future for Massachusetts” to a panel of judges. Teams had been researching 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 envision a zero-waste future and what changes would be required in how we produce, distribute, sell, and use products and services as a society to achieve it.

This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall:

1.Lexington High School
2.The Groton School
3.Shepherd Hill Regional High School
4.Doherty Memorial High School
5.Acton-Boxborough Regional High School

Current Issue presentation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.The Groton School, Blue team
3.Doherty Memorial High School, Gold team

Forests ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
3.Lexington High School, Green team

Soils ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.The Groton School, Green team
3The Groton School, Blue team

Water ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Lexington High School, Green team
3.The Groton School, Blue team

Wildlife ecostation:

1.Lexington High School, Blue team
2.Lexington High School, Green team
3.The Groton School, Blue team

“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 Chair 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 where students learn from the environmental professionals and the environmental professionals learn from the students.”

The overall winning team will have the opportunity to represent Massachusetts in the North American Envirothon, which will be held July 24-30, 2022 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

The 2022 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, Smithfield Foods, the Society of Soil Scientists of Southern 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 also on hand for the competition to handle all the event logistics from setting up tents, tables and chairs, checking-in teams, serving food, scoring tests and cleaning up.

For this year’s event, compostable products were sourced for the food tent and City Compost and the Millbury Environmental Council assisted in sorting waste, resulting in less than a grocery bag of waste for the landfill. For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

2022 MA State Grange Grants!

Grange_Roots_Logo_final

Massachusetts State Grange will again sponsor the 2022 EnviroTrek Lunch at the Massachusetts Envirothon Competition on May 12th, 2022 at Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown. Massachusetts Envirothon is extremely grateful for their continued support!

Additionally, $1500 in scholarships will be made available to teams for the 2021-2022 program year..

Teams are be invited to propose how they would spend this scholarship money – e.g. Envirothon related equipment, field trips, transportation, or registration. Priority will be given to new teams, teams that have not been awarded grants previously, and teams with financial need.

To apply, fill out the form below! Applications are due by Feb 21, 2022 @ 5pm. MESC will vote on Feb 23, 2022 and teams will be notified soon after.

2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony

You are invited to watch the 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony for Massachusetts Envirothon! Celebrate the hard work teams have achieved during this year of virtual learning. Click here to watch a recording of the zoom webinar from Friday May 21, 2021.

Current Issue sessions look different this year, but there is still an excellent exchange of learning between teams and judges! The Envirothon community is strong and resilient!

2021 Virtual Envirothon!

Is it a good idea to build a new high school on a piece of forested land? What is your community doing to protect local water resources in light of climate change impacts? High School aged youth across the commonwealth are invited to tackle a virtual “Natural Resource Challenge” and this year’s Current Issue “Water Resources and Climate Change” by submitting 2 presentations in early May. The highest scoring team of 5-10 students will move on to represent Massachusetts in the virtual NCF Envirothon in July! Read more here

The Natural Resource Challenge asks teams to evaluate the impact of a new high school on the soil, water, wildlife, and forest of this piece of land. Using a free GIS mapping program (provided by MassGIS) and many curated online resources teams will submit a video of their findings to Envirothon ecostation leaders.
Since we can’t gather in a tent, Current Issue presentations will be held over zoom! Submit your 10 minute video about what your community is doing to protect water resources and then have a conversation with a panel of judges to discuss your findings! more details here

Offline Engagements

Get yourself outside! Safely, of course! Nature is all around you, no matter where you live. Can you find 15 minutes a few times a week to head out the door and look (and listen!) around you?

Go outside, wherever you live, and make observations of the ‘wildness’ around you with a special eye to the connection of wildlife, water, soils and forests. Select the same area (yard, vacant lot, field, woods, neighborhood) every time you go outside so you can gain a better understanding of the natural world you inhabit. Engage all of your senses, connect to your surroundings, learn who and what are your natural neighbors, ask questions, be curious, spend 15 minutes 3x/week on the same Engagement. Once the fifth Engagement is completed start again at number one since there will be many natural changes throughout the seasons.

Collaborate with your teammates as you each go out to investigate your own respective area at the same time and day, make observations and then reconvene, electronically, to compare and contrast your observations, and share reflections on the experience. Feel free to share your observations or questions with Pam Landry, MassWildlife Education Coordinator at pam.landry@mass.gov. Please put Envirothon Engagement in the subject line. For Massachusetts wildlife fact sheets visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife

If interested, post your observations of plants, wildlife, and more through the NCF-Envirothon iNaturalist project  https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ncf-envirothon?tab=about

Engagement #1: Observation (Learning to Look, Looking to See) It’s a pdf you can print with directions and space for a journal entry- or just jot the info down on paper to share with your team when you connect virtually.

Engagement #2: Maps (Sense of Place)– make a birds eye view sketch of the terrain around you- what do you notice?

Engagement #3: Trees! Did you catch the webinar on Tree ID? Even if you didn’t, head out and take a look around- what characteristics do you notice? Do you see any wildlife using the trees? Are there different kinds of trees in different places? Let us know what you observe!

Engagement #4: Birds! Were you one of the millions of folks who got really excited about watching birds at the beginning of the pandemic? Even if you’re not a certified bird nerd (yet), take a look (and a listen!) around outside and notice your feathered neighbors.

Engagement #5: Focused Observation of Wildlife– Can you find a critter to watch near you? Yes Squirrels count, but is there anything else in your neighborhood? What did you need to do to observe the animal?

All 2020-21 Program events will be Virtual

Due to the Pandemic and resulting State guidelines for safety, all MA Envirothon events will be virtual for the 2020-21 program year. The Steering Committee issued this statement on 10.13.20:

The Committee is planning a virtual event for May 2021. All team registration fees will be waived for this program year. To participate, we invite all teams to attend virtual webinars and workshops leading up to the May event and a commitment to be involved in the actual event. The Committee looks forward to all the creative possibilities that a remote program affords.

Opportunities to be involved in planning the Virtual May event will be held in the coming months .

The first Webinar was on Wednesday October 21 at 7pm in honor of A World Without Water Day. You can view a recording of this Webinar here . Many more webinars will be announced soon!

Winter Workshop Cancelled AGAIN

Good morning everyone. I wanted to let you all know that due to the Governor’s orders yesterday we are required to CANCEL Fridays workshop at MWCC.  MassEnvirothon falls under the umbrella of an Executive Branch and therefore cannot host any outside events for the time being. This has been a trying year for all of us and please know that any decisions on cancellations made by the Steering Committee do not come lightly. The safety of our volunteers, students and coaches is always at the forefront of our discussions and we are just as disappointed when we have to reschedule or cancel an event. Thank you all for your support of the Envirothon, your understanding and stay safe.

Kelley

Envirothon Steering Committee Chair

2020 MA State Grange Scholarships

The MGrange_Roots_Logo_finalassachusetts State Grange will again sponsor the 2020 EnviroTrek Lunch at the Massachusetts Envirothon Competition on May 14th, 2020 at Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown. Massachusetts Envirothon is extremely grateful for their continued support!

Five $300 scholarships will be made available to teams for the 2019-2020 program year.

Teams will be invited to propose how they would spend this scholarship money – e.g. Envirothon related equipment, field trips, transportation, or registration.”  Priority will be given to new teams, teams that have not been awarded grants previously, and teams with financial need.

To apply, fill out the form below! Applications are due by Feb 14, 2020 @ 5pm. MESC will vote on March 12, 2020 and teams will be notified soon after.