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 communities, and formulating steps their local leaders can take to protect land and water ecosystems in watersheds.

They presented their findings at the 31st Annual Massachusetts Envirothon Competition on Friday, May 18 at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. 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
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
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
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
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 provided expertise and helped 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