July 22, 2018

Mass Envirothon Community Research Award


As a new school year begins, I am writing to offer belated congratulations to the Seekonk High School Envirothon team for their hard work and success at the 2017 Mass Envirothon! They were one of 12 teams across the state completing requirements for the Mass Envirothon Community Research and Community Action Awards for their work on the 2017 Current Issue Agricultural Soil & Water Conservation.

2017 participating team members were: David Abbott, Emily Botelho, Noah Brennick, Holly Carroll, Jason Ho, Hannah MacDonald, Celia Mendez, Madison Paine, Andrew Silveira. The team was coached by Seekonk H.S. teacher Angela Cunard.

The Mass Envirothon Community Research Award recognizes teams who have done thorough and wide-ranging community investigations in preparation for their Current Issue presentation. Qualifying for this award in 2017 required teams to interview farmers, foresters, scientists, and long-term residents. They were expected to become familiar with local soil and water conservation issues, and to learn about the best practices recommended for addressing those issues.

They had to choose at least two significant sites for soil and water conservation in their community and collect scientific data they believed was relevant to the issues there. In addition, the teams used soil maps and researched local newspapers and the internet.

What they did: The Seekonk team connected with a wide range of community resource individuals and organizations, representing both public and private interests. The Seekonk Land Trust was a particularly valuable source of information about conservation practices and projects in the area. They observed drought, nutrient deficient soil, and pollution problems, but also individual farms that are turning these problems around. They also saw opportunities for educating the public about the issues. The Mass Envirothon Community Action Award recognizes teams who take what they learn in their research and apply it in service to their community.

What they did: The Seekonk team’s action project involved collecting and testing soil samples, particularly from home gardeners, and using this opportunity to support and encourage gardening. Documentation of the Seekonk team’s research and action this year is attached. Envirothon teams gain strong environmental knowledge and community connections through this experience. They develop teamwork skills and stewardship values. They show that they are capable of college level work and that they can make a real contribution to their communities. Their coaches deserve special commendation for the time and care they put into working with the team.

Thank you for your support of the Seekonk High School team and their coach! More about the Envirothon can be found at https://www.massenvirothon.org

Will Snyder
UMass Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment/UMass Extension
2017 Chair of the Massachusetts Envirothon Steering Committee


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