Each year since 2015, Wildlands Trust has helped coach the Brockton High School Envirothon team for the annual state competition. This past Friday the team spent the morning at Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge competing against twenty-four other teams from across the state. Ten students split up to compete in forestry, wildlife, water, and soils before coming back together to present their research on watershed issues in Brockton. For the first time, the team took first place for their presentation, as well as earning third place in forestry!
Throughout the school year, the team thoroughly investigated the current issue topic “Working with Nature in Watersheds”. They met with climate scientists, city officials, foresters, ecologists, and more at afterschool meetings to help understand the complex watershed issues in Brockton. From the city’s complex drinking water supply issues to green infrastructure initiatives in the Taunton River watershed, these students covered it all.
Taking action, the team assisted Wildlands Trust staff in building a boardwalk over wetlands at Stone Farm Conservation Area to help provide public access to nature while protecting sensitive wetland habitat. Then, they put together a seven-step restoration plan for their school’s degrading Flagg Pond with the help of restoration ecologist Brad Holmes. Step one was to organize a school-wide pond cleanup, where thirty-six students collected enough litter to fill a truck bed. This pond leads directly into West Meadow Brook Pond in West Bridgewater, then to Lake Nippenicket in the Hockomock Swamp, and from there into the Taunton River itself. The rest of the Flagg Pond restoration plan will require a community effort that the school and Wildlands Trust will continue to investigate.
We are very proud of everything the team accomplished this year. While the majority of this year’s students will be graduating in a few short weeks and going off to college, we look forward to coaching another great team starting next fall.