CN-RP-2-EnvirothonLEOMINSTER, MA  — A school year of preparation paid off for local teenagers who were rewarded for their knowledge of the environment at the 27th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. They were among 250 high school students from more than 30 Massachusetts communities from Boston to the Berkshires who descended on Sholan Farms in Leominster on Thursday, May 15, 2014 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 Sustainable Local Agriculture 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 sustainable agriculture in their community and to recommend steps that their city or town and individuals, including young people, should take to support local farming and food production.
This year’s top scoring teams are:

Overall Score

1st Place – Newton North High School
2nd Place – Quabbin Regional High School
3rd Place – Lexington High School
Current Issue Presentation
1st Place – Quabbin Regional High School
2nd Place – 4H Envirothon Club
3rd Place – Springfield Central High School
4th Place (tie) – Newton North High School, Pioneer Valley Regional School
5th Place (tie) –  Leicester High School, Monson Environmental Action Team, Weston/Land’s Sake

Forests Ecostation

1st Place – Lexington High School
2nd Place – Acton-Boxborough Regional High
3rd Place – Pioneer Valley Regional School
4th Place – Needham Area Homeschoolers
5th Place  – Newton North High School
Soils Ecostation
1st Place –  Quabbin Regional High School
2nd Place (tie) – Newton North High School, Tantasqua High School
3rd Place (tie) – Lexington High School, Needham Area Homeschoolers
4th Place – Oliver Ames High School
5th Place – GCC Permaculture
Water Ecostation
1st Place – Quabbin Regional High School
2nd Place – 4H Envirothon Club
3rd Place – Bedford High School
4th Place – Acton-Boxborough Regional High
5th Place – Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
Wildlife Ecostation
1st Place – Newton North High School
2nd Place – Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
3rd Place – Lexington High School
4th Place – 4H Envirothon Club
5th Place – Leominster High School
“We were excited to have this year’s Envirothon at Sholan Farms in Leominster because it is a model of successful state, municipal and volunteer partnerships as well as environmental protection,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “I congratulate all the students and teachers for their hard work preparing for the Envirothon.”
“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 Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee Chair Will Snyder of the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
Sholan Farms is a 169-acre farm owned by the City of Leominster and operated by the Friends of Sholan Farms, a community supported, non-profit organization managed by dedicated members and volunteers. Envirothon teams participated in several service projects on the farm during the event.
The 2014 Massachusetts Envirothon is made possible through the contributions of partnering agencies and organizations, including financial support from the U.S. Forest Service; the Environmental Business Council of New England; the City of Leominster, Department of Public Works, Water and Sewer Division; and local conservation districts. This year, Farm Credit Northeast awarded the Envirothon an AgEnhancement grant to fund a lunchtime “Farmers’ Market” roundtable session that featured discussion, networking, informational resources, demonstrations and local ice cream for all attendees.
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, including many members of the Leominster Rotary Club, were also on hand to set up tents, tables and chairs, check in teams, serve food, score tests, photograph activities and clean up.
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