Envirothon

Envirothon is MACD’s best known environmental education program.  To learn more visit: http://www.maineenvirothon.org/

Welcome to Maine Envirothon

We are currently inviting you and your students to participate in the 2016 Maine Envirothon. Last year, we had over 60 teams from over 30 Maine high schools registered for this program. We look forward to seeing these veteran schools again in 2016 and welcome new schools to take part in this valuable learning experience.

Envirothon is a state- and nation-wide environmental competition where high school students test their knowledge of natural resources and current environmental issues. Teams consisting of 3-5 students compete first at a regional level, answering questions and solving hands-on problems at five stations: Wildlife, Water/Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, and a Current Natural Resource Issue. This year’s current issue is “Urban/Community Forestry.”

Envirothon is an academic program that is aligned with the Maine Learning Results. As well as advising teams for competition, teachers throughout Maine successfully incorporate Envirothon concepts and hands-on activities into their science curricula. The program raises students’ awareness of local and national environmental issues. Envirothon integrates math, language arts, cultural land-use history, and science in ways unique to the field. Students build critical thinking and decision-making skills as they practice solving real environmental problems.

In addition to learning about the environment, applying new knowledge, collaborating to address natural resource issues, and meeting young environmentalists from around the state and nation, Maine participants are eligible for scholarships from the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture at the University of Maine, Orono. Winners of the National Envirothon receive individual college scholarships valued at over $1000. Through this program, students have an opportunity to meet and learn from state soil scientists, biologists, foresters, and other natural resource professionals.

We greatly appreciate advisors’ interest in natural resources, commitment to environmental education, and time spent preparing teams for competition. As an Envirothon team advisor, it is not necessary that you be an expert in environmental areas nor be a full time teacher. Natural resource professionals from Maine’s 16 Soil and Water Conservation Districts may be available to assist teams with resource materials and preparation. If you are interested in the program, but are not yet ready to form a team for competition, please contact us for more information and an opportunity to attend a preparatory Fall Field Day or other hands-on training sessions. Please note that advisors can be teachers, parents, and/or community members.

How to Register

To register your team for the 2016 competition you need to complete the online registration packet . The deadline for registration is March 27, 2016. To receive your coveted Maine Envirothon team T-shirts, we need registration by March 20, 2016. Once your team is registered, we will send you additional information and a resource packet to guide preparation for the Regional Envirothon. You will be notified about workshops and/or hands-on training sessions for your team. Please register as soon as possible to ensure you receive this information with plenty of time to study and practice. However, there will be NO REFUNDS or rollovers to future Envirothons once a team has registered if the team has to cancel.

Links

Our unique grass roots approach to conservation allows us to work with many partners including federal, state and local government agencies. The list below is only a partial list of the partners that we work with.

2 thoughts on “Envirothon

  1. Urgent Time-Sensitive Legislative Alert to Soil and Water Conservation Districts
    From “ROADWays” – Residents and Owners on Abandoned and Discontinued Ways.
    ROADWays is looking to get the word out about a matter that should be of interest with regard to soil and water conservation. The legislature has formed a study committee of legislators to look into the problems caused by “Public Easements.” For those of you who are not familiar with this issue, a public easement is a road which, as defined by the Maine Supreme Court, gives the public an “unfettered right of access” to land or water, but which NO ONE has an obligation to keep in repair. These roads have come into existence since 1965 when a town road is Discontinued under 23 MRSA section 3026, and since 1976 whenever a town or county road is Abandoned under 23 MRSA section 3028. The result is that our state is now covered with ROADS WHICH, LEGALLY, REMAIN OPEN TO PUBLIC VEHICULAR TRAFFIC WITHOUT RESTRICTION, YET WHICH, IN THE ABSENCE OF MAINTENANCE, QUICKLY ERODE AND BECOME CHANNELS FOR RAINWATER RUNOFF. Some of these roads have been kept in repair to some degree at private expense by owners of abutting land who have no other access to their property, but inevitably, public use by four wheelers, ATV’s, logging operations, and the like, still causes damage. The private landowner has no obligation to use his private funds to support such public use, but it becomes an unfair burden when his only other choice is to lose access to his land.
    Towns are concerned that they don’t want to lose access for utilities, recreational users, emergency access and the like, yet they also want to escape the expense of keeping little-used roads up to town road standards. Property owners argue that every time they try to rebuild the access to their property, public use destroys it again, and they have no recourse. Yet if the roads are discontinued without easement, property owners would lose all right of access and would then have to be compensated by the Town because their property would be land locked. Conservation groups are worried because there is little or no regulation to stop the erosion that results from public use in the absence of road repair. Many of these roads were discontinued precisely because they are in locations that are prone to serious erosion, and therefore are difficult and expensive to maintain. There is also the question of liability if someone is injured because the public “invited” them to use roads that were in unsafe condition. Should we exclude the public from roads which are not kept in repair at public expense? Should we require that the public provide repair for roads which are kept open to the public? Should we make these roads into private property access in common for the abutters, subject to a road association which would allow them to regulate who uses the roads and how much each abutter must contribute for repairs?
    The legislative study group is looking for input on this issue in the hope of finding some solutions to the problems of public easements. They have asked that interested parties submit their answers to three questions, by Friday, Oct. 11 if possible. Here is their request:

    “Please respond to the following questions as concisely and clearly as possible. Bullet points are fine (and encouraged).
    1. What do you think about eliminating abandonment? What are the positive and negative consequences?
    2. Do you think a municipality should retain an easement after it discontinues or abandons a road? If so, what should the scope of this easement be –– what activities or traffic allowed? How can the easement be changed to protect the abutter? To protect the municipality?
    3. What do you think about creating a way for abutters on discontinued roads to form a road association with the power to compel other abutters to contribute to maintenance costs?

    You may submit your responses via email to Alyson Mayo at this email address (Alyson.Mayo@legislature.maine.gov) by Friday, October 11th. If possible, please send your responses as a Word document or pdf and be sure to list your name and organization (if any). Responses submitted after October 11th will still be forwarded to the subcommittee, though members may have limited time to read them.”

    Alternatively, you can send your responses to ROADWays, and we will send them on to the legislative committee. For more information, please contact ROADWays at amosdog@juno.com, and please put ROADWays in the subject line.

  2. The battle for improved legislation regarding abandoned and discontinued roads drags on. After I sent the above legislative alert, the Committee on State and Local Government worked for months on the bill, L.D. 1177, that was supposed to address the problem of “public easements,” roads which are open to public use but which are unsupported by any public maintenance. I am sorry to say that the committee nibbled all the way around the edges of the problem, bringing in a lot of side issues, and never actually got to the root of it. The final draft of the bill STILL results in a “public easement” when a road is abandoned or discontinued. The bill states only that during the discontinuance process, a town “may” vote to limit the use of the easement, and “may” vote to take on maintenance and liability responsibilities, but they are not required to do so. Chances are, most towns will choose not to limit public use and not to provide any funds for maintenance. Apparently it is going to take more voices than just the injured landowners to make the legislature take any meaningful action. My list of interested people continues to grow, but it will take the strength of numbers to get this done. If you are concerned about uncontrolled runoff from old roads which are open to unrestricted public vehicular use in the absence of maintenance, please join us at ROADWays, Residents and Owners on Abandoned and Discontinued Ways. You may contact us at roadways@juno.com, or at amosdog@juno.com and put ROADWays in the subject line.

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