Members of Spruce Mountain High School’s Envirothon teams listen Thursday to adviser Rob Taylor address the Regional School Unit 73 directors at the school in Jay. Directors approved a request for the veteran team, Maine Mudpuppies, to compete in New Brunswick, Canada in July. From left are adviser Ken Baker, team members Mason Labonte, Sam Geissinger and Dan Wilson, adviser Rob Taylor and team members Brenden Veillieux, Abrahm Geissinger and Owen Schwab. Absent were Violet Bellerose, Lily Fortier, Hannah Dube and Leah Burgess. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Regional School District 73 directors gave permission Thursday evening for a veteran Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon team to compete at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, in late July.

The Maine Mudpuppies placed first at the Southwestern Regional Envirothon on May 25 and first at the Maine State Envirothon on Wednesday, adviser Rob Taylor said.

The team has won the state competition three years in a row, he said.

Team members are Leah Burgess, Abrahm Geissinger, Owen Schwab, Brenden Veillieux and Dan Wilson.

“Sackville is at the very tip of the Bay of Fundy,” Taylor noted. “We are the closest United States team. There will be a home field advantage.”

Last year, the team had to learn Ohio’s trees, other things relevant to that area, Taylor said. “Envirothon is very place-based, so we are hoping New Brunswick will be very similar to Maine.”


Director Tina Riley of Jay said, “I have a profound amount of respect for what you are doing, it’s incredible. I am proud of the team.”

The theme is climate change, Taylor said. Teams are presented with making a 150-acre abandoned farm functional and carbon negative or carbon neutral. The winning team calculated the exact amount of carbon sequestered from 50 acres of forest and 50 acres of farmland, he said.

“I am not sure I understand the process,” he added.

While some money remains from last year, fundraisers will be done this year, Taylor said.

Prior to the meeting, Dan Wilson, a student representative to the board and winning team member, said, “This school holds to a standard for Envirothon, we hold ourselves to that standard. We don’t want to be the ones to lose.”

The younger Envirothon team, the Lil Brown Bats, is comprised of freshmen Samuel Geissinger and Mason Labonte, and sophomores Violet Bellerose, Lily Fortier and Hannah Dube, placed third in the state contest on Wednesday, Taylor said.


In other business, Transportation Director Norma Jackman said cellphone use was one of the biggest issues on buses in RSU 73 and in districts throughout the United States. She requested policies for cellphone use on buses and on informing parents of school bus conduct rules be developed for next year.

“I don’t think parents compare buses to classrooms,” she said.

The biggest issues seen constantly on buses are fighting, prejudice and sex, Jackman said.

She said drivers have been begging her for something to be done and some may not return without changes.

“I know it’s been absolutely horrendous, Director Chantelle Woodcock of Jay, said. “There is only so much we can do.”

She thanked Jackman’s department for what they are doing to keep the buses running.


Custodians have stepped in, worked overtime to drive buses, Jackman said, noting she has also filled in when needed.

It is expensive for the district, she added.

Jackman said she obtained policies on cellphone use from other districts. The board asked her to share them with Superintendent Scott Albert.

RSU 73 does have a policy on student conduct on school buses.

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