The Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon Green Team took first place at the regional competition held in Bethel May 19. Receiving their award are in no order Abrahm Geissinger, Owen Schwab, Dan Wilson, Leah Burgess and Liz Grondin. Submitted photo

JAY — Once again Spruce Mountain High School teams will be competing at the state Envirothon competition after placing first and second at the regional competition.

On Thursday, May 19, five Envirothon teams from the school competed at the 2022 Southwestern Regional Envirothon Competition at the Valentine Conservation Farm in Bethel. The competition was sponsored by the Maine Association of Conservation Districts and was hosted by the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District. Spruce Mountain High School was the only school at the event.

“After not having the event for three years [last regional was 2019], it will probably take a while for teams to return,” Spruce Mountain Envirothon co-advisor Rob Taylor said in an email Monday, May 23.

The students created posters and gave presentations on this year’s current issue theme “Waste to Resources.” They also completed field tests in the areas of forestry science, wildlife management, aquatic ecology and soil science.

SMHS Envirothon Black Team took second place at the regional Envirothon held in Bethel May 19. Seen in no order receiving their award are team members Ella Plourde, Kaila Godbey, Liam Brewster, Quin Fournier, and Isaac Parker. Submitted photo

Two of the teams from Spruce Mountain qualified to compete at the Maine Envirothon Championships at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Outdoor Education Center on Friday, June 3. The state competition will include the top teams from four regional events being held across the state.

“The event was a great experience for the students and the folks from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts did a great job bringing resource professionals from across Maine to work with the kids,” Taylor said. “Schools are still feeling the effects of COVID and a number of schools that have competed in the past were not able to do so this year. It was great to have our kids once again at an in person event in the great outdoors and the kids did a great job.”


“The kids have invested in a huge amount of time and energy for Envirothon this year,” co-advisor Ken Baker said. “They spent numerous hours researching and creating their current issue presentations on Waste to Resources and studying for the field tests at the competition.”

Baker said team members also collect water-quality data for the Livermore Falls Water District, serve as stewards for the Androscoggin Land Trust Steven’s Island Conservation Area, and are helping plan a timber harvest for property around the school, among other projects.

“The students are developing a great deal of environmental literacy,” he noted.

The five teams from Spruce Mountain were each designated by a color: Gold, Orange, Black, White and Green.

The Green Team took first place overall, scoring 403.92 points out of the 500 possible. The team includes juniors Abrahm Geissinger, Owen Schwab, and Dan Wilson as well as sophomores Leah Burgess and Liz Grondin.

The team’s current issue project dealt with protecting Little Parker Pond in East Jay. The Livermore Falls Water District uses this pond for part of the town’s water supply and the pond is monitored by Spruce Mountain Envirothon teams.


The team placed second in current issue with a score of 85.17 out of 100 and swept the other four tests with scores of 92 in soils, 91 in aquatics, 59.75 in wildlife, and 76 in forestry. One hundred points was the maximum available for each test.

The all-senior Black Team included Ella Plourde, Kaila Godbey, Liam Brewster, Quin Fournier, and Isaac Parker. They placed second overall with a score of 378.93. This was the only group with team members who had previously taken a live Envirothon field test back when they were freshmen in 2019.

The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID and the 2021 event was an online virtual event.

“The experience of this team helped them a great deal,” Baker said. “The kids have great public speaking skills and took first place for the current issue presentation competition.”

The Black Team studied Wilson Lake in Wilton and used data from the Friends of Wilson Lake newsletter and from the 2016 Wilson Lake Watershed Survey in their project.

“I am really proud of these seniors,” Taylor said. “They have been through so much in high school and I am happy to see them have the opportunity to compete in the field again. I am glad they will have the opportunity to compete at the State Finals.”


Spruce Mountain Orange includes Juniors Jenevieve Feith and Mackenzie Michaud, Sophomore Connor Roy, and Freshmen Alex Grimaldi and Cole Richards. The team focused their project on Round and Long Ponds in Livermore, as Grimaldi’s family owns a camp there. They devised a plan for the fictitious “Rong Pond” Lake Association and the team noted the need to collect more data on these lakes, as the Maine Lake Stewards online database does not have a lot of information posted for them.

The team scored 303.95 points, which earned them third place.

“The tests were really challenging.” said Taylor. “The high score for all teams on wildlife was just under 60% and the kids had to really know their stuff to score well. The event is as much of a learning experience as a competition. The kids get to see how environmental science is done first hand and they all took time on the bus ride home to see how they did and what they can learn from what they got wrong.

“Ken and I are really glad to have so many kids participating,” he noted.

The White team included junior Sophie Bernard and sophomores Kasey Burns and Megan Craig.

“The team scored 293.31 points and did a project on managing wastes in the Moosehill Pond watershed,” Taylor said. “Students were given a problem scenario where they were asked to pretend they were an environmental consulting firm charged with developing a waste management plan for a lake association.


“The students chose Moose Hill Pond as a resource to study because it is our main drinking water source and we collect data on the pond every summer and share it with the Water District, Maine Lake Stewards, and the Maine DEP. The team’s current issue presentation took third place overall and the kids learned a lot about the pond and protecting our drinking water.”

The Gold team included junior Brenden Veilleux and freshmen Mary Lovewell, Blueball Chen, Skylar Condon, and Avery Ryder. The team scored 278.13 points and did their project on Molasses pond, where Ryder’s family has a camp.

“This was a very young team with four freshmen,” Baker said. “They really learned a lot this year.”

Spruce Mountain Green and Black teams will compete in the State Finals on Friday, June 3.

“The kids will need to step up their game for the State Finals,” Baker noted. “With the best teams from around Maine in attendance, it should be a very competitive event. It has been a great year for all the kids in the Spruce Mountain program.”

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