Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We Have Food - Others Do Not

Faculty, Staff, and Students Relax and Enjoy Dinner at the Summit

It's time to recharge, and Chartwells is serving up meals at the Environmental Summit even though the cafeteria is under renovation. It does take more work and effort when your space is getting a face lift.

The cafeteria crew is catering meals upstairs in the game room, and everyone is eating in the snack bar area. That's fine. We don't spread out much, so we get to know each other better.

Students Enjoying Dinner in The Snack Area

Working with a green crowd offers extra challenges but also opportunities to think outside the box and come up with solutions. Since the dishwasher isn't available, we are eating on plates that compost.

Here is what some of our fellow campers have to say about eating at the Environmental Summit:

Meghan (Colorado) - "There is so much variety. I can always find something to eat."

Jennah (North Carolina) - "Nicaraguan enchiladas." (her favorite)

Jeremy (North Carolina) - "Thanks for the vegetarian food."

Alyssa (North Carolina) - "Swag dinnerware." (plates made out of cornstarch)

Madison (Florida) - "Everything is good!"

Zhane (North Carolina) - "There is something for everyone."

Sophia (North Carolina) - "The cooks did well. The veggies are for real."

Some of us really love the cookies for a treat after the meal.

Geocache and Biomimicry - Our Adventure Today

By Keela Sweeney

After an exciting first day, our summit participants began day two with more than a bang! Visiting the ecological preserve to geocache and discover the many aspects of biomimicry was surely an adventure for everyone. Here are some of our students in the act.

Left to Right: Rafaello, Shaina, Jessica, Emily, Sarah.                                       Photo By:Keela Sweeney

Biomimicry is the process by which we emulate nature in order to better the human world. One great example of biomimicry we had the opportunity to discuss during our geo-cash yesterday was the salamander's ability to regenerate its limbs.  Simulating processes similar to the salamanders to do research on stem cells is an excellent use of this process.

                                                                                                                                                   Photos By: Jessica Everett

Our students thoroughly enjoyed their trek through the preserve and learned so much along the way, even meeting a few slimy friends!

Catawba - A Great Place to be Environmental

Catawba College and the Environment
By Emma Sophia

Catawba College in Salisbury North Carolina is a great place to hold an Environmental Summit for teens. The college's atmosphere and its facilities are great for young people with hopes and dreams of creating change in our future. Not only does Catawba have a beautiful 189 acre nature preserve and a 300 acre wildlife refuge, but it is also continuously working to make the rest of its campus more environmentally friendly. Many of the newer buildings on campus are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. There are also many things that go on during the school year that are driven by inspired students and faculty who care about the environment

There are a few clubs on campus including Catawba Outdoor Adventures and Environment Catawba Outreach, which both work in different ways to prove that the outdoors and the environment are important and should be protected. There is also a program called "Green Pig" around campus that sets up posters with environmental tips and also sponsors events for the students.

The college and its faculty also try to makes it easy to waste less by giving all students recycling bins and having them all over campus. They have dropped their amount of waste by going from trays to plates in the cafeteria and getting reusable take out boxes for student's lunches to conserve water. They also cut down the energy bill by heating many of the buildings with a geothermal heating system. These changes helped Catawba College to win Duke Energy's 2011 power partner.

Along with all these amazing things, Catawba is also the home to the Center for The Environment. The Center for the Environment is an amazing help to Catawba College, because it brings awareness and also many outreach projects in areas outside the college. It has been a great help getting opportunities and great inspirational speakers for us here at the Environmental Summit this week.

Wait! Why You Should Take a Step Back Before You Act

by Emily Pieper

Focusing on the Big Picture
By Emily Pieper

Today bright and early at 7:30 a.m., this was the lively scene at breakfast of our third day here at Redesigning 2012. When I was capturing this, I actually was only testing out how well my phone's panoramic mode would work when everyone was moving around. When I uploaded it to my computer after, I experienced one of those enlightening light bulb moments when everything collides in your mind and suddenly becomes crystal clear.

What I realized was that, in a way, this simple photo represented the underlying theme of the summit: Whole Systems Thinking. Basically what I think this phrase means is that to solve problems you have to step back and look at the whole picture. Sometimes we can get so focused on one aspect of an issue that we miss other parts. Everyone has done this at least once in their life, and I realized that I certainly have when I talked to Doc Hendley after his inspiring presentation on Monday.

I asked him what he thought his biggest obstacle was that he had to overcome to bring his idea of Wine to Water to life. He answered by saying that besides the obvious internal struggles that he went through (like culture shock when he returned home), he had to learn about the basics of running an organization.

This was interesting to me just because I had never really thought about that part of starting an organization to help people; the main part that I had focused on was the helping people part, which I now know can't happen as well without standing back for a minute and understanding the whole picture.

Night Hike at the Center for the Environment Preserve

Whew! It's Dark Out There at Night.

Campers Ready to Brave the Night and Enjoy Nature After Dark

By Jocelyn

On Tuesday night, Ms.Lanier  took out two groups who wanted to go hiking in complete darkness, and it was really fun being out there because you were with your peers and really bonding well. This activity shows that you are building a strong relationship because you're out there in the nature preserve at night together.

Everyone enjoyed being out there, because they knew someone was in-front of them and really didn't need to use a flashlight to see.

You can use the red light if you were really scared of being out there, but no one had to use that at all in our group.

Back Safe and Sound from the Night Hike and Ready for My Blogging Focus Group

We Did Eat Kudzu at Our Summer Summit

You Will Never Guess What We Are Getting Ready To Do

Dr. Jay Bolin and His Invasive Plants and Animals Focus Group

Eating Kudzu
By Rafaello

I went to a unique Discovery Group on Tuesday. It combined poison ivy and deep-frying. (No, we didn't deep-fry the ivy). The discovery session was called "Invasive Species and Biodiversity: Eating the Plant that ate the South!" and was taught by Dr. Jay Bolin, a biology professor here at Catawba College.

Dr. Bolin started out the session by talking about specific invasive species, what they are, and how they work.

He then told us we were going to go pick some kudzu. After walking for about 15 minutes (of which the last 5 minutes was through a lot of poison ivy), we got to the kudzu. Kudzu is a nasty plant. It is a vine that grows extremely fast, and basically on anything. I saw some kudzu climbing up trees basically everywhere. We picked kudzu (while avoiding the poison ivy that was also everywhere).

Oddly enough, Dr. Bolin himself is extremely sensitive to poison ivy. But, as he says, "I'm a botanist. I'm crazy about plants. It's what I do."

After picking some, we went back to the classroom. After drying off (it started to rain as we were heading back), we battered and fried the kudzu. It tasted great (though not that much different than most other deep-fried foods).

At some point, someone suggested deep-frying some other foods. By the end of the session, we had battered then fried PB&J sandwiches, bananas, cookies, peanut butter crackers, and some kudzu flowers.

We had a really fun (and greasy) time!

Dr. Bolin Proves You Can Fry Just About Anything

Ask These Happy Campers About Experiment Kudzu Fry (cool) 
and About Invasive Species (not cool)

No. It Didn't Taste Like Chicken (as they say about most unusual foods).

Enjoy What You Do and Build on Your Passion with Others

Finding My Passion and Others Who Share My World View

By Jocelyn

Well, everyone wants to enjoy what they do in their daily life, because if you are not  happy, then it will be boring for you always. You always have to find something you are passionate about to do and believe in.

The environmental issue is a passion for me because I want to make the world around me a better place. I enjoy when I try to do simple things that would affect the world in a positive way.

When you have more than one person trying to make a difference on the same issue, it will have a huge impact, and it makes changing the world more fun than being solo. Having that extra support by your peers is really helpful when you want to have do something really big dealing with the environment.

Here are some words I live by:
"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." Vince Lombardi

Doc Hendley Interview

Doc Hendley Interview at the Environmental Summit for High School Students 2012 

by Austin Fisher

Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world through helping others?
A: About myself, I have learned that even someone like me can have an impact in the world. About the world, I have seen that many people are worse off in this world but live a simpler, happier life that I think is better than our own and it is hard to come home and see us, who have it all, just be miserable with our lives rather than just enjoy life like people who have less.

Q: Through this process that you have created, how have your ambitions changed and what is your vision now in the world for Wine to Water?
A: My ambitions have only grown to be that I want to help more and more people. In four years, I have helped 25,000 people around 13 countries through my organization and I only wish to see it grow. By five years, I want to have helped 1,000,000 people worldwide.

Q: Have you ever revisited any community that you have helped?
A: Yes, I do regularly go back to the countries I have helped, except for Darfur. Specifically I visit Uganda, Cambodia, Haiti, Peru and Ethiopia. I am planning on visiting Guatemala now that they are a country we have been able to help.

Q: What advise do you have for people who also feel like you did before about not being able to help anyone?
A: People think we need to learn in school before we can do anything, but we have all of the ability to act right now to make a difference. Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do, and it only takes that first step. Never be afraid to take that step either, because you have the power to make changes if you take the opportunities right in front of you.

Q: Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
A: My grandfather for sure. He had to stop playing for the Steelers because of money issues and supporting his family and instead he created his own business where he went and cleaned toilets on his hands and knees. Over the years he has turned that business into a multi-million dollar corporation of his own ambitions and dedication. He had always been the most humble and giving man and a true inspiration to me.

Q: What is your goal that you wish to see amounted to in your lifetime with this Wine to Water program?
A: Definitely to see us help 1,000,000 people around the world collectively by our fifth year with Wine to Water, but also by at least the end of my life if I am graced to become an old man, I wish to see the world’s water crisis eradicated entirely so we can move on to other important projects.

Doc Hendley and Blogger Austin Fisher