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Pioneer students get bronze in green competition

Submitted photo
Pioneer Valley Regional School seniors Rachel Rodgers, Alyssa Weld, Jaclyn LaFleur, Bri L'Ecuyer, Sydney Foster, Greg Betsold and sophomore Nick Wahlstrom, with coaches Karen O'Neil and Penney Betsold, at the Massachusetts Envirothon May 17, in Easton, where they took third place.

Submitted photo Pioneer Valley Regional School seniors Rachel Rodgers, Alyssa Weld, Jaclyn LaFleur, Bri L'Ecuyer, Sydney Foster, Greg Betsold and sophomore Nick Wahlstrom, with coaches Karen O'Neil and Penney Betsold, at the Massachusetts Envirothon May 17, in Easton, where they took third place.

NORTHFIELD — Students from Pioneer Valley Regional School placed high in a statewide competition.

Pioneer’s team brought home third place in the 25th annual Massachusetts Envirothon, held at Borderland State Park in Easton.

For the competition, teams had to put their heads together and answer questions about forestry, aquatics, soils, wildlife and a current environmental issue. This year, that issue was trees, forests and sustainability.

Pioneer students placed first in forestry this year and last, and took second place in soils, making coaches Penney Betsold and Karen O’Neil proud.

But, the competition aside, the time spent preparing for the competition has given the students an in-depth working knowledge of the environment, and that’s a sure-fire win.

“Like many of their peers, our Envirothon team members care about the outdoors; but they also know about the outdoors,” said O’Neil. “Because they have environmental knowledge and skills, they will be more effective advocates. Informed passion is powerful.”

Students said that preparing for the event was a learning experience they wouldn’t have gotten in a classroom.

“I was able to learn about topics that aren’t necessarily taught in depth in the science classes I took,” said senior Bri L’Ecuyer. “I highly recommend that anyone interested in the environment or wildlife join the team.”

It was also a way for them to put into practice what they’ve learned in class.

“We learn in our classes that we should be saving the environment, but the Envirothon gives practical skills on what’s going on in the area and exactly what we should be saving,” said senior Sydney Foster. He said he enjoyed collaborating with others, and hearing all the different ideas teammates came up with.

“Hanging out with similarly minded people who come up with different solutions was a stellar time.”

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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