Journal class

Envirothon team gears up for Ohio competition

The Spruce Mountain High School Enivrothon team will participate in the National Conservation Foundation Envirothon in Ohio July 24-30. Team members Leah Burgess, Brenden Veilleux, Dan Wilson, Abrahm Geissinger and Owen Schwab were seen during a practice news presentation on July 13. Pam Harnden / Livermore Falls Announcer

JAY – Since winning the state competition in June, Spruce Mountain High School’s green team has been busy preparing for the National Conservation Foundation’s Envirothon at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, July 24-30.

On Wednesday, July 13, the team shared a presentation similar to the one they will be giving at the upcoming competition. For their current problem scenario, they explained various factors involved in the waste management plan they had developed for Dayton, Ohio. The presentation was about twice as long as the 20 minutes allowed during the national competition.

“Envirothon is kind of a weird thing,” said team advisor Rob Taylor. “It’s very, very difficult to describe to people what we actually do. Envirothon has five areas. Soils, forestry, aquatic environments, wildlife, it happens every year. Then there is a fifth called current issue – the topic changes every year.

This year’s current issue is Waste to Resources.

“Kids are given a problem scenario and they have to develop a solution,” Taylor said. “Envirothon is supposed to be very, very location specific. When we do Envirothon here in Maine, we learn about Maine, fish, soils and forests.

For Maine, teams were asked to pretend to be environmental scientists working for a lake association to develop a waste management plan for that watershed.

“[The team] going to Ohio in a week from Saturday, basically they had to relearn everything from scratch,” Taylor said. “Instead of knowing the trees in Maine, they have to know all the trees in Ohio. There are 69 different species of trees in Ohio. About 30 of them are also found in Maine, there are 39 species that we don’t even have. Same thing with the wildlife, the water, the soils of Ohio.

“Half the soil in Ohio is non-glacial soil, completely different from what we have in Maine, because all of Maine is glacial soil.”

There are other differences in the national contest for the current number. For regional and national competitions, teams receive the problem scenario in advance, determine their solution before the competition, and use posters to explain their approach.

“One week from next Thursday [the team] will be locked in a dorm with no counselors and given the fast-paced scenario,” Taylor said. “They will have a two to three hour training with resource professionals who will explain the scenario to them, give them information that they can use. Then they spend the next seven hours trying to fix that problem.

“They will be given a computer without internet access, can use Power Point in their presentation. They will receive a stock of images or can create their own.

SMHS computers do not have Power Point, so the team worked to get familiar with this program.

“Based on my previous experiences, to be successful at these events, you need to know the answer before you ask the question,” Taylor noted. “They have to be ready to fix this before they really know what the problem is. Mr. Baker and I took a guess, we hope it will be similar to what they will receive in Ohio.

Taylor said Dayton is close to where the team will be in Ohio and is urban in nature which he expects the current problem to focus on. He said the scenario given to the team was made very broad intentionally to expose the team to all the possibilities that might arise.

“We’ve been working on this since school ended, we’ve met two people working with the state legislature,” he said. “Maine is the first country in the country to require the company that generates packaging waste to pay for the disposal of that packaging. The kids have spent a lot of time learning all of these things.

“We don’t want kids to end up in a situation they’re not ready for.”

Team member Leah Burgess explained the goals and objectives of the management plan:

• Implement a sustainable plan

• Apply leading practices in waste reduction and treatment

• Take into account the needs of stakeholders

• Reduce the production of greenhouse gases and fight against climate change

• Consider how actions will affect or benefit the Gulf of Mexico

• Ensure the plan can be easily replicated to improve waste management beyond Dayton

Team members Burgess, Brendan Veillieux, Dan Wilson, Abrahm Geissinger and Owen Schwab each took turns sharing details of the plan.

Parents, students and others scored the presentation using the score sheet that will be used in Ohio. A question and answer period followed.

“Questions and answers can be just as important, if not more so,” Taylor said. “The judges want you to think on your feet. Developing public speaking skills is an important part of Envirothon.

When asked how inflation might impact suggested management programs, Owen said companies like McDonald’s work in more than one state and program costs would be used to help other things. in people’s lives.

Leah noted inconsistencies, with each city doing things differently. “There’s no benefit to recycling,” she said.

Brendan stressed the importance of educating young people.

Taylor said Liz Grondin, who was on the team at regional and national meets, couldn’t travel with the team to Ohio. Brendan took his place, he added.

Taylor said it was the 12th time one of his teams had won the state competition. Taylor taught for Jay before the consolidation that created Regional School Unit 73.