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.

Envirothon Teams and Coaches recognized for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education

Four Envirothon teams and their coaches were recognized today as part of a State House ceremony when Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides honored 32 energy and environmental education programs at Massachusetts schools and nonprofits as part of the 25th Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education (5/6/19).

Congratulations to Joyce Voorhis, Brockton High School; Joanne Bernier, Leicester High School; Sarah Johnson and Ann Taft, Fitchburg High School; and Angela Armstrong, Rockland High School for their contributions to environmental education, and to their teams for going above and beyond to learn and take action! EEA News Release is linked here.

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2019 Massachusetts State Grange Sponsorship

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Members of the Massachusetts State Grange presented a donation of $5000 to the MA Envirothon Steering Committee at the Spring Workshop.  An additional $1500 of grant money will be made available to teams for the 2019-2020 program year

The Massachusetts State Grange will again sponsor the 2019 EnviroTrek Lunch at the Massachusetts Envirothon Competition on May 17th, 2019 at Sholan Farms in Leominster. Massachusetts Envirothon is extremely grateful for their continued support!

Ten $150 scholarships will be made available to teams for the 2019-2020 program year to cover materials, transportation or registration.  To apply, fill out the form below! Applications are due by Aug 28, 2019 @ 5pm.

2019 Current Issue Problem posted

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Students at Shepherd Hill Regional High School growing Abundant, Affordable, Healthy Food in Dudley

Teams preparing for the 2019 Massachusetts Envirothon have been sent the 2019 Current Issue Problem. Their presentations will feature research done in their local communities to answer: What should our community do right now to help ensure abundant, affordable, healthy food for all in 2050?
Please visit the Current Issue page for background information and presentation score sheets.

Fall 18 Workshop wrap up

Despite a reschedule, the Fall 2018 Envirothon workshop at UMass Amherst was a success!

Almost all the original presenters and teams were able to be there!  202 students and 34 coaches from 20 teams (Acton-Boxborough, Bedford, Bristol Aggie, Brockton, Central, David Prouty, Doherty, Fitchburg, Greenfield, Innovation, Leicester, Lexington, Monty Tech, Newton North, Oliver Ames, PVRS, Quabbin, Reading, Shepherd Hill, and SABIS) as well as 8 members of the USDA APHIS crew attended.

 Massachusetts Envirothon wishes to thank the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the support that has made this event possible.  In particular, we are grateful for the funding, time, and expertise provided by:
UMass College of Natural Sciences (CNS) (http://www.cns.umass.edu/)
UMass School of Earth & Sustainability (https://www.umass.edu/ses/), particularly
UMass Extension/Center for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (http://ag.umass.edu/extension-outreach)

15 unique sessions were offered (Final Agenda here)

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Marion Larson from MassWildlife talks about Wild for Food

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Mary Bell from UMass Amherst discusses the Food Recovery Hierarchy and eating “ugly” veggies

And our first ever (not your average) Resource Fair during lunch:

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(not your average) Resource Fair featuring UMass student farmers, Cabot Co-op, USDA/NRCS and Mass Ag in the Classroom among others

 

We hope you’ll join us at our Winter Workshop on Feb 8, 2019 at Mt Wachusett Community College in Gardner.