JAY — At the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors meeting on Thursday, June 13, permission was approved for a Spruce Mountain High School [SMHS] Envirothon team to travel to the international competition to be held in New York later this summer.

Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon Advisor Rob Taylor and team members standing from left Natalie Furka, Brenden Veilleux and Lily Fortier are seen at the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors meeting on Thursday, June 13, held at the high school in Jay. The team obtained permission to travel to the international competition to be held later this summer in Geneva, New York. Team members Skylar Condon, Hannah Dube, Leah Burgess and advisor Ken Baker were not available. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The green team, one of four teams and 24 students from SMHS this year, won the state competition and “earned the privilege of representing Maine at the National Conservation Foundation [NCF] International Envirothon Championships from July 28 to Aug. 3 at Hobart William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York,” advisor Rob Taylor said. “Envirothon is the world’s largest environmental science competition and tests student understanding of wildlife ecology, soil science, forestry and aquatic ecosystems, as well as this year’s current issue, Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future.”

Taylor noted the Envirothon program in Maine is sponsored by Maine Association of Conservation Districts, by NCF at the international level. The competition in New York will include championship teams from nearly every state and Canadian provinces as well as teams from China and Singapore, he said. “It truly is an international competition, a great experience for the kids,” he stated.

Four teams from SMHS competed at the Southwestern Regional Envirothon competition held Wednesday, May 1, at French Falls Park in Jay. In addition to the winning “Green” team, the “Black” team finished in second place qualifying it to compete at the Maine competition held Friday, May 31, at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville.

The Livermore Falls Advertiser obtained score sheets from the Maine competition which saw 10 teams competing. Those teams were invited based on the number of teams which competed at four regionals held throughout the state. Spruce’s Green team earned 378.51 points. The Maine Academy of Natural Sciences team from Hinkley took second with a score of 354.58 and Mt. Ararat from Topsham finished third with 325.3.

The green team placed first in aquatics, forestry and current issue, second in soils and third in forestry. Spruce’s Black team finished in eighth place with a score of 271.05 and came in third in soils.


Green team features seniors Leah Burgess and Brenden Veilleux along with juniors Natalie Furka, Hannah Dube and Lily Fortier. This is the fourth year Burgess and Veilleux will have represented Spruce and Maine at the international competition. Black team members are senior Kasey Burns, junior Violet Bellerose and sophomores Mason Labonte and Sam Geissinger.

The championship team from Spruce is now studying more than 100 pages of content about New York’s ecosystems, Taylor said. Current issue has 300 pages for which the team will spend seven hours working on Thursday in Geneva to come up with a solution and presentation, he stated. That Friday morning the team will give a 20 minute oral presentation on its solution, he noted.

SMHS Envirothon teams will continue their environmental community service this summer, Taylor said. They have been involved with watershed surveying, invasive plant detection and reporting, courtesy boat inspections and water quality monitoring of local drinking water, he noted.

They are raising American chestnut trees behind the school, are stewards of Androscoggin Land Trust Steven’s Island Preserve and a whole bunch of other projects, he stated. “Part of the reason we are so successful is because we don’t spend all our time on Envirothon, we put it into practice,” he added.

The team needs to raise $3,000 in six weeks in order to travel to New York. “We have an incredibly generous community, have always been supported,” Taylor noted. The teams sold eclipse glasses in April, will be doing fundraising in addition to studying for the competition, he said.

Those wishing to help fund the trip may send checks made payable to Spruce Mountain High School Envirothon to Taylor, 99 Belanger Road, Jay, ME 04239. For additional information, call him at 207-491-1137 or email rtaylor@rsu73.com.

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