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Rockland High School Environmental Team Wins Awards at Envirothon

Rockland’s team: Front row from left: Ronan McNally, Joe Naughton, Lizzie McGaffigan, Jad Bendakawi, Saoirse McNally, Back Row: Tyler Gambon, Zach Webb, Hannah Wyllie, Sean Sugrue, Michelle Ramoska and Mrs. Armstrong. photo courtesy of Mass Envirothon.

The Rockland High School Environmental Club recently took part in their third Massachusetts Envirothon. This year the event took place on May 18 at Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge, Mass. Rockland was one of 27 schools to compete.

The Rockland Team, coached by RHS science teacher Angela Armstrong, included: Jad Bendarkawi, Sean Fitzgerald, Tyler Gambon, Saoirse and Ronan McNally, Joseph Naughton, Michelle Ramoska, Sean Sugrue, Zach Webb and Hannah Wyllie.

Joseph Naughton, Sean Sugrue and Lizzie McGaffigan work through questions at one of the ecostations at the Massachusetts Envirothon on May 18 in Uxbridge. photo courtesy of Mass Envirothon

After being split up into sub-teams, each school, including Rockland, 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, demonstrating their knowledge about the environment based on research they had done throughout the year.

From left: Sean Sugrue, Hannah Wyllie, Joe Naughton, Ronan McNally and Zach Webb present the team’s current issue report at the Mass Envirothon on May 18. photo courtesy of Mass. Envirothon

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each school gave a 15-minute presentation to a panel of judges on “Partnering with Nature in Watersheds.” Each team researched the Current Issue in their own community in preparation for their presentation. Rockland presented their research and action plan investigating the North and South River Watersheds.

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 week RHS Principal Dr. John Harrison was notified that Rockland had received a Community Action and Community Research Award from the Mass. Envirothon.  They were one of 12 teams to receive the awards. Will Snyder, a board member of Mass. Envirothon congratulated Rockland’s team members for their presentation about the North and South River Watershed.  Snyder cited the team’s work with the Rockland Board of Selectmen, and other town officials in investigating the pollutants that run-off into various streams and tributaries and then flow into the watershed.  The team provided data that the town will use in its annual EPA report.

Dr. Harrison said, “I commend the students involved and the adviser Ms. Armstrong for their interest in environmental science. I am proud of our students who had their best performance ever at Envirothon. It is great to hear from the students how much they have learned from the experience. We will certainly miss many of the seniors on this team who recently graduated but I am optimistic that their strong passion for environmental science will continue with future grades.”

Looking ahead, sophomore Tyler Gambon noted, “Our recent success has only made us more ready for next year.”

Sophomore Hannah Wyllie said, “We have actually already started working on next year’s topic, ‘Growing Abundant, Affordable, Nutritious Food in Massachusetts.’ We are always looking for more teammates as well!”

Graduated seniors Joseph Naughton and Sean Sugrue on May 18 at the Mass Envirothon. photo courtesy of Mass Envirothon.

Michelle Ramoska, Ronan McNally and Zach Webb work on the details at one of the ecostations. photo courtesy of Mass. Envirothon.


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