The aim of this collaboration between the UMass College of Natural Sciences and the Massachusetts Envirothon is to encourage high school age young people to develop the science literacy, citizen skills, and knowledge of routes to further education and careers that will allow them to participate responsibly and effectively in natural resource conservation and land use decisions in Massachusetts communities.
Through the collaboration, UMass is able to provide access to applied science and youth development expertise to communities across the Commonwealth. The Mass Envirothon network includes local officials and citizens serving on municipal boards, scientists and policy staff in state environmental agencies, and environmental advocates in nongovernmental organizations, all of whom are interested in helping to prepare youth who will be active citizens in Massachusetts communities in decades to come. The primary focus of the program is work with the school teachers and youth leaders who guide the high school age youth in their community-based learning. With our help, these teachers can offer a multiplier effect in reaching youth, and they may also choose to serve as volunteers on local boards.
The goal is to enable young people to grow into caring, capable, scientifically literate, well-informed, engaged citizens who are prepared to contribute to their communities in the 21st century. The collaboration develops well-designed challenges for youth teams and provides adult coaches with background information and community connections that will help them be effective in their work with youth on community issues.