Marcoux Leads Students In Environmental Activism
By Elizabeth Cayouette-Gluckman
Each spring a small group of Salem High students travels to a new outdoor location for the Envirathon competition. The students compete in a variety of environmental science competitions, on teams corresponding with their self-designated area of expertise, such as water, soil, animals, plants, etc. These students also worked together to create a presentation on invasive species, during which they educated judges on the effects of invasive species in our area.
Sophomore Angelina Caggiano explains that invasive species are harmful to the local and global environment “because they are more aggressive than native species and disrupt the entire ecosystem.” We can protect against this threat by “[making] sure people don’t bring things from other locations,” as invasive species are often unintentionally brought in with people who have been traveling.
Though this event is a competition, the Salem High team is truly involved for personal benefit, as this is a great learning opportunity. Many of the students involved are in or have been in AP Environmental science, taught by Graeme Marcoux, and embrace this experience as a supplement to what they have been learning in class.
Marcoux says Envirathon is “a great opportunity for participants to see and meet other students interested in learning more about and helping the environment. It’s also great for them to meet all of the judges who work in various fields of environmental science.”
Junior Owen Clyne is also enthusiastic about the beneficial qualities of the experience, as he explains that they “got advice from professional environmental scientists of different fields about how to help educate our school and the next generation to help make a difference in our community.”
One of the primary goals is in fact to educate the community. Many of the schools that come away from the Envirathon with special recognition have completed some sort of community action project that left a lasting impact on their local community. Even if no such project is completed, students still spend time learning how they can make an impact on their local community, both personally and through informing and leading their peers.
The event is held at a different location each year so that students can experience a different outdoor setting. It is also crucial that the event is held outdoors, as the competition harnesses the potential of the natural environment. Students have planted trees during the community outreach section, and delved into excavated pits to analyze soil.
Marcoux appreciates the hands on approach, and adds “a beautiful day spent in a state park is never a bad experience.” The students were quick to agree with this sentiment, and as in past years the group is keen on returning.
This group of about nine students is passionate about the environment, and about their education. They are zealous about their desire to help make our world a more environmentally conscious place, and Envirathon helps them build their skills to do just that. In order to compete at this event they put in hours of preparation, and were rewarded with an unforgettable experience.