Friday, July 13, 2012

Nature Speaks for Me - A Poem by Monique

Dr. Forrest Anderson, Assistant Professor of English, conducted a Discovery Session called "A Field Guide to the Poetics of Environmental Writing.

Students put together poems with a nature theme during the session. Camper Monique wrote a poem that touched her fellow group members. Her poem was displayed on the last night of the summit, and she did a reading for the entire group.

Nature Speaks for Me

By Monique

Useless, unworthy, and unwanted.
This chant in my ear.
Smack, drug away and done any kind of
Tall, brown, big bright green leaves.
Like me, this beautiful site was cut
At the waste.
When I would get too lonely and shattered to stand
The patter of my feet would echo in the wind.
Here, no man could rip me to shreds and use me as he saw fit.
What happens when water gets scarce?
It dies.
What happened on my last dance?
I bawled up next to what I thought held some connection.
I had its back it had mine.
It was all in my head but that was alright.
This sick and twisted emotion I just tossed back.
Id fall and scrape my knee.
No blood. No tears.
I kept quiet.
In the night, at the end
Nature speaks for me.
All my thoughts lie in the wide
Never-ending paths and between branches.
It is a soothing feeling when the wind blows and all the secrets are vanished.

I'm On Turtle Time. Are You?

By: Keela Sweeney

Today I got the oppurtunity to accompany the "Animals Near and Far" group on their turtle tracking adventure! Students suited up and climbed into kayaks with satellites in hand so they could track where in the pond the turtles were.

In the beginning of the week this group worked hard to catch up to six turtles inhabiting the pond and marsh areas around the Center for the Environment Nature Preserve here at Catawba College. Two huge snappers and four midsize to baby turtles were marked on Monday with trackers so that the students could go back and track them all today. And I was lucky enough to join the fun! 

Emily and Josh using the radiotelemetric rod to find their marked turtles

Having a great time out on the pond

                                                                   Found the second one!!

Finishing up the hunt for the day! 

Having a Blast While Helping Make a Difference

Photo by: Emily Pieper
Summit campers Justine, Shaina, Chas, and Emma (L-R) take a short break before working hard on their student Action Plans. Shaina (second from the left) plans on starting a United Students Against Sweatshops club at her school and eventually have them purchase spirit wear from sweat-free companies.

A Quick News Note from Green Ink Blogger Emily Pieper

Our Whole Group - Redesigning the Future 2012

                                                                                                                                                           Photo by Dr. Seth Holzman

Redesigning the Future: Environmental Summit for High School Students 2012

After breakfast this morning, the last day of the summit before we head home tomorrow, Dr. Seth Holzman ("Is Nature What We Think?") took our group photo. He set up the tripod and got ready as we had scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits, gravy, and cereal (not all together).

We're all wearing our Redesigning the Future t-shirts and giving our best early morning smiles before meeting our focus groups for the last time. Well, we do meet later in the day, but that is to get ready for our "What We've Learned" festival. All the groups from "Environmental Education Through Theatre" to "Sacred Spaces: Global Heritage and Conservation" have displays, hands on stations, or open mic sessions (or a combination).

Another busy but exciting but busy day at the summit . . . Be sure to click around and find out all the exciting things we've been doing this week.  

From Culture Shock to Love

From Culture Shock to Love
By Shaina Robinson

As a northerner from Michigan, I began preparing myself a couple of days before coming to this summit in Salisbury, NC for some southern culture shock.

The last time I had eaten food in the South, I hadn't had the best experience. I had gone down to breakfast hoping to get some some porridge and when I saw some on the table I was ecstatic. The food that I thought was porridge though turned out to be grits and despite how many times people told me that the two foods were different, I was sure that they would taste the same. I mean they look similar right? Well, as I would soon learn, porridge and grits are different foods and needless to say I never quite thought about grits in the same way again.

But now that I'm here at Catawba at the Environmental Summit for high school students, I've had the chance to try southern food again, and I really enjoy it!

Of course there are other aspects of the south that have surprised me and some of my fellow northerner counterparts. In order to get their "takes" on it, I decided to ask them about their experiences in the south and how it has affected them so far.

Rafaello (Massachusetts) - "I hate how humid it is in the South, Bu,t aside from that,I really enjoyed it here. I love southern accents. I don't know why, but something about them is so cool. I like southern food quite a bit, though there doesn't seem to be as much for vegeterians. It seems to me that people in the South are overall nicer than people from the North."

Justine (Michigan) - "I think that the South is a really interesting place. I definitely get the feel of "southern hospitality" as everyone I have met have been so nice. The climate and accents are hard to deal with sometimes, but I feel that we all understand each other as friends and have the same goal and reasons to why we have come to this summit."

Emily (New York) - "I live in upstate New York, and I love it there. Sometimes I wish it could be warmer, but it's in the North so I can't really change that. Besides it being very hot and humid, I've noticed that everyone here is so friendly and welcoming. My mom's big family lives in Maryland and we visit them a lot, but as soon as I arrived here at Catawba College for this summit, I immediately noticed a difference in the culture, and I have to say that I love it as much as where I live (if not more)."  

So there you have it folks! Despite some initial hesitance we've all come to find qualities of the South that we enjoy and appreciate. Thanks for having us down here and feel free to visit us all up north!

Grits . . . maybe they are an acquired taste.

The Future - What We Plan to do After the Summit



Summit Campers from Dr. Eric Hake's Focus Group 

         Thoughts on making a difference . . .
Natasha Anbalagan NC I plan to convince my school to install low-flush toilets by creating a cost-benifit analysis that shows the net benifits of low-flush toilets.
Saloni Choudhary NJ I'm going to talk to my school administrators about selling re-usable water bottles in our school store. It's such a simple way to make a difference.
Emma NC I plan to establish a school garden, which through programs here we've learned is a SMART goal.
Gabby NC I hope to do work with the NCSEA and spreading awareness on the topic of using green energy in NC. I hope to join them in one of their annual meetings.
Chas VA I want to bring more in-depth environmental information to my school since it lacks envionrmental programs and classes. I plan on contacting the school board about the absense of classes.
Samuel DuBois NC I hope to eventually become an architect in my future, using many ideas to create buildings that are more envionrmentally friendly.
Robert Kerby VA I hope to take my knowledge back to my high school and persuade admnistrators to install LED lights and new recycling bins along with convincing teachers and students to use windows instead of lights during daylight hours.
Monique Watkins NC I want to share my experience with many people at my school so they may consider joining and help me to come up with many helpful environmental tips.

Connecting with Nature Through Deep Thinking

Connecting with Nature Through Deep Thinking
By Shaina Robinson 

A couple of days ago, I got the chance to sneak a peek inside the room of "Is Nature What We Think It Is?" focus group.

When I entered, it was dimly lighted by a single candle with sunlight being its only other source of lighting. At the time, all of the group members were in the state of "deep thinking" and were trying to answer the discussion question that had been given to them.  

I soon found out that the goal of this focus group was to determine what nature really is and how when our ideas around it change, so do our outcomes.

It's hard to explain what types of discussion happened in the focus group, but modern and premodern thinking were prominent topics in many of them. The general idea and ensuing argument behind these phrases is that schools aren't teaching students to be humanistic anymore and are instead promoting materialism.  

As I was taking pictures I was able to see the group members trying to comprehend this information, and as I watched them form their responses to this argument, I realized that the group members had accomplished Dr. Seth Holtzman's ultimate goal: "Understanding . . . the value of thinking ethically, psychologically and spiritually about nature." 

Photo by Shaina Robinson
Pondering the Discussion Question

Photo by Erin  Blackburn 
Interacting with Nature

Photo by Erin Blackburn
Look at this awesome bug, blink and you might have missed it!

Camper Spotlight - Zahra - Flying and the Environment

Summit Camper Has a Passion for Aviation
By Emma Sophia

Zahra is a rising high school senior from Salisbury, North Carolina who is in the Environmental Education through Theater focus group at camp. 

Previously, she has been part of her middle school's Green Team; the Green Team is a recycling program at her school that she says is not taken very seriously by teachers and students.

Last fall, things for Zahra changed when she took AP Environmental Science. In the class she learned more about environmental issues and realized that there is a lot of help and change that needs to happen in the world, and she wants to be part of that change.

Zahra also has a passion for aviation. Flying is something she has loved for a long time, and just this past year, she got her pilot license for her birthday. Because of her love for flying, she has long dreamed of being an aeronautical engineer. Now that she also pays more acute attention to environmental issues, she struggles with the fact that airplanes cause a lot of pollution. The ones she usually flies use from 5 to 10 gallons per hour.

To deal with that issue, Zahra has decided that she wants to look into majoring in Aviation Environmental Science at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the only place that offers that major. She got the idea when talking to people who deal with AeroFusion, an additive to airplane fuel that improves efficiency and decreases CO2 emissions. She is very excited about one day making flying more environmentally friendly