Showing posts from 2013

Fried Up - You Really Can Eat Kudzu

By Lila Welsh

When life gives you kudzu, fry it! The invasive species group has been trying some new ways to get rid of an invasive species.

Kudzu is an invasive species. An invasive species is one that is introduced into an area and has no natural predators and is a generalized species, which means it can live in all kinds of environments.

It seems nowadays in North Carolina that kudzu can be found in every forest.

The kids in the invasive species group have found a way to help control the invasive kudzu. Eat it!

The invasive plant is delicious when fried and is an innovative way to control a problem plant. The class is also thinking of preparing other kudzu dishes for the final festival such as kudzu salsa, kudzu quiche, and even a tenderloin with a kudzu sauce!

"It's a bad plant that tastes good." -Grey Dorsett, Summit Camper

Photo by: Morgan King

Ben Prater: Changing Our Perspective

By: JaneCameron Williamson

Ben Prater
On the 12th day of July, 2013 Ben Prater came to talk to the participants about developing a strategy to better understand a conservation project. He had a great system of thinking. He taught us the main 5 steps:

Identify the issue.Consider your stakeholders.Set your SMART goals. Develop a strategy.
He said long term goals are better and a S.M.A.R.T. goal stood for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Some social strategies he talked about were: Information/Education, Social Marketing, and Regulation. Also he talked about conceptual lenses we use to understand something such as; urgency lens, building block lens, advocacy lens, feasibility lens, commitment lens, and impact lens.

He was very fun to listen to and had quotes all throughout his presentation. One that I enjoyed was from John Naisbitt:

"We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom."

Dr. John Wear - Director of the Center for the Environment

Dr. John Wear is the Executive Director of the Center for the Environment. The Green Ink Bloggers would like to thank Dr. Wear, Cathy Holladay, Sarah Moore, as well the rest of the Center for the Environment staff and counselors for organizing and hosting the National Environment Summit: Redesigning Our Future 2013! 

Get a Backbone and Make a Difference

By: Katie Trischman

Fungi capture the rainforest-esque feel of the preserve
After the past two days of warm rain, the Catawba nature preserve resembled a rainforest more than the cornfield that it once was. Certainly there were enough mosquitoes to be a rainforest. Despite the mud and parasites, one group braves the elements to monitor the health of the preserve's ecosystem.

The Backbone for Conservation focus group is extremely hands-on and is involved with studying the vertebrates of the preserve. They have caught and tagged both turtles and birds (about only 5 species out of the 245 vertebrates on the preserve) all while being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Bird netting, however, is not as glamorous as it sounds; it takes a lot of sitting around in the mud. After following Professor Joe Posten through the trails, the group sets up the thin net across a pathway that Professor Posten deems suitable. He usually listens for bird calls and tries to set up in an area where several birds…

Price Of Everything

By: JaneCameron Williamson

The Price of Everything Focus Group
From Left to Right: Madison Labonte, Grace Owen, Lindsey Conlan, Daniel Richardson, Malcolm King, Patrick Moore
The members of the focus group, Price Of Everything, was really pumped to be in their group. They really enjoyed it and thought it focused a lot on the economic and political part of protecting and explaining environmental problems.

I talked to group members Daniel Richardson and Malcolm King. Daniel explained that he felt that economics was a big part of how we handle expenses that improve the environment and without the markets, we wouldn't have the proper lifestyle to protect us.

Malcolm thought it focused more on the political side. He told me that they talk about how the markets work and the connections it has to the environment and they have also learned that in order to create a better system for trash, we need to change our own lifestyles.

I believe the group was a great way to learn new techniques …

A Salute to Our Summit Camp Counselors

Left to Right; Katie Barbee, Morgan King, Ron Stewart,  Kerstin Brown, Mark Conrad, Patrick Moore, and Ka'Shara Davis

 A special thanks a million to our Redesigning Our Future counselors! 
A super huge thanks to our Green Ink Blogger's counselor Morgan King!
Left to Right; Katie Barbee, Morgan King, Ron Stewart,  Kerstin Brown, Mark Conrad, Patrick Moore, and Ka'Shara Davis

Tied Up In Knots

By: Leah Picciano
During an evening during Environmental Summit 2013, there was an activity planned outside. Unfortunately, Mother Nature released a rainstorm that showed no sign of stopping.

The activity wasn't cancelled, we just did it inside, which is when things got rather tangled. We were instructed to form a circle, cross our arms, and then grab the hands of the person across from you, (not the same person's hands for each of yours, and not the person's hand next to you), and then work to untangle yourselves without letting go of the persons' hands.

The end result should be you standing in a circle next to the two people that you are holding hands. If you can do that, you should try doing it without talking - or at least one person talking.


By: Raul Barreda and Morgan King

Sarah Moore explains the different events of  Ecolympics before all the craziness got started. 
The teams were divided up into their focus groups and competed against each other.
 And the Events are....
Challenge #1-Enviromental Telephone 
Challenge #2-Animal Noises
Challege #3-Rock, Paper, Scissors... make sure you recycle the paper! 
Challenge #4-Eco Dancing 
Challege #5-Recycling Races
And the Winners are....
1st Place- Invasive Alien Plants and Animals
2nd Place- A Backbone for Conservation
3rd Place- Scared Places

Salate to Our Fabulous Environmental Summit Counselors

Left to Right; Katie Barbee, Morgan King, Ron Stewart,  Kerstin Brown, Mark Conrad, Patrick Moore, and Ka'Shara Davis
A special thanks a million to our Redesigning Our Future counselors! 
A super huge thanks to our Green Ink Blogger's counselor Morgan King!

Horizon's Light Show and Light Pollution Explanation

On Thursday the 11th, everyone doing the environmental project got to go to a light show and was explained to what light pollution was. Light pollution is having too many lights on to where you can't see anything.
We were shown a video of where a man was searching for stars in the sky, and it seemed like he was in LA; there were a lot of lights and buildings. He said that so far, he had only seen TWELVE stars in the sky, and you know there aren't just twelve stars in the sky.

There were pictures of places with and without many lights. Mostly, the ones with many lights were cities, and the ones without many lights were small homes in the country. The more lights there were, the less stars you were able to see. And the less lights there were, the more stars you could see. We were also shown different stars and constellations.

Summit students walking back  from the Horizon's light show. 

Sights And Sounds In Catawba Nature Preserve

By: Leah Picciano
The Environmental Summit of 2013 spent a whole morning in the preserve. We saw many things, including a turtle, many spiders, salamanders, and plenty of mosquitoes. One of our more interesting finds were the turtle, which stayed still enough for us to get a close-up of him hiding in his shell. The turtle is a Eastern Painted Turtle common from Canada to Georgia and goes as far west as the Appalachians. They are very popular as pets.

The salamanders were part of the biomimicry, but once we were finished, one of the campers caught a very large salamander, and we were able to hold it and take plenty of pictures of it.

The spiders got us tangled in their webs, since they were all over the paths and in the woods. The mosquitoes were everywhere, despite all the spray that we put on.

After the biomimicry when we had some time to do what we wanted, we were able to go kayaking or canoeing on the lake in the preserve. Out on the lake, we saw many plants and flowers, as well…

Movie Night

By: Lila Welsh

On the night of July 11th 2013 the campers and staff of Redesigning Our Future 2013 relaxed at movie night.

The movie watched was "We Bought a Zoo", a story about a single dad who decides to buy a zoo and follows him through the ups and downs of his latest adventure. This movie was directed by Cameron Crowe and featured big name actors such as Matt Damon, who played the father of two, Benjamin Mee, who had lost his wife and was trying to find out how to live life without her by making a life changing choice, and Scarlet Johannson, who played Kelly Foster, the zookeeper of the zoo bought by Matt Damon's character and later it seemed to be his love interest.

While the movie was enjoyable, and could be an emotional roller coaster at some points, there were some parts of the movie that seemed out of place and a bit odd.

The two major romances of the movie: that between Benjamin and Kelly and that between Dylan Mee, Benjamin's son, and Lily Miska, Kelly&…

The Mosquito Group: Hunting for Mosquito "babies" while being eaten alive!

What campers think of the mosquito larvae/ pupa hunting:?
People in the mosquito group thought that their mosquito hunting went pretty well as far as finding big larvae and pupa. They did find it hard to determine whether a pool was new or old.

A person in the mosquito group named Michelle explained that they were searching for mosquito larvae and pupa.

In this group they were working on searching for mosquito "babies," and they did that by using dipping cups and skimming the little pools that had collected around the woods and had been made by precipitation and more.

By: Angel

Chad Pregracke: Cleaning Up Rivers One Barrel At a Time

By: JaneCameron Williamson, Lila Welsh, and Raul Barreda

On the night of July 9th, the founder of Living Lands and Water came to speak to the campers of 2013’s Redesigning Our Future. His light hearted nature and exciting storytelling caught the audience and kept their attention as he told the staff and campers about his journey from being a seventeen year old kid with a dream of cleaning up 435 miles of the Mississippi to being the owner of a national organization working to clean up America’s major rivers.

During an interview we found out about his book "From the Bottom Up" and about his Alternative Spring Break for college students.

Also he spoke about his rise to fame with the help of his sponsors.

He was extremely humble and liked to focus on helping clean the river as a group instead of as his own independent project.

He showed the group two news videos. One of which was featured on CNN in 1997.

Photos by: Raul Barreda
The Mississippi River on PowerPoint at the Presen…

Birthday Week(Jack, Malcolm, and Leah)

This is Raul, the silent ninja of birthdays and nature-lovers; I just wanted to send a shout-out to all my peeps who had a birthday this week.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jack, have a great day and don't eat too much cake.
Leah is one of our Green Ink Bloggers. Enjoy your day.

Malcolm? Is that a second piece of cake. OK. It's your birthday. You get all the slices you want.

BDAY PHOTOS by Raul Barreda

I hope you weren't too EMBARRASSED BY ALL THE FUSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????

Rainy Night Environmental Summit Art Gallery

Students at the Environmental Summit 2013 took some time out to create some art on Wednesday night when showers rolled in. "Showers" may be an understatement. Along with the thunder, there was quite the light show with the lightning.    It has rained every day at camp. In fact, it has rained every day in North Carolina for 18 days straight according to the nightly news (19 counting today - only sprinkles so far). This is not typical. Oh well. Summit campers do not let a little or a lot of rain damper their spirits or creativity. The ice cream truck just pulled around back, and some summit attendees captured nature with paint.  
Here we have some very colorful and cheerful looking flowers. I'm not sure what kind of flowers we have here, but they are certainly pretty.

This I believe may be one of the deeper puddles from the evening. If every cloud has a silver lining, then every puddle should have a pretty mermaid and a fish.

This interesting piece caught my eye. I ha…

Camper Spotlight- Ariana- Confronting Climate Change

By: Katie Trischman Our Camper of Interest: Ariana Nicholson of Durham, North Carolina Want to get involved? Go to NCSCA's facebook or their website!
It is without a doubt that every person attending the summit is passionate about the environment, but one girl in particular has found a medium to express her passion; she is an important member of the steering committee in the North Carolina Students for Climate Action (NCSCA for short).

The main goals of the NCSCA are to raise awareness about climate change and encourage youth to take action such as attending clean up events or lobbying.

And Ariana Nicholson is directly in the middle of all the action. 
Ariana has had her fair share of experiences in raising awareness for climate change and has possessed a passion for nature for as long as she can remember. However, she never actually did anything until she went to the Outdoor Academy in the 10th grade. There she learned about climate change and the dangers that our environment…

Stop Copying Me! : A Serious Spin on the Mimicking Game

By: Katie Trischman What We Did
The Environmental Summit of 2013 began its first day in Catawba's 189-acre ecological preserve to study a subject called biomimicry. Don't worry; that term sounded foreign to us as well before we began our geocaching adventure.

With only a map and a GPS, each group set out to find their own sequence of geocache stations and slowly discover the possibilities of biomimicry.

 Biomimicry is taking inspiration from nature and solving current issues with these models from nature. It sounds so surprisingly simple, yet humans have remained trapped in their ways of doing things for thousands of years. Where do we look for our solutions, and how do we translate the natural world into industry?

We not only found inspiration in each station but also all around us in the marshy woodland of Catawba's ecological preserve.
What We Learned
Our trek through the reserve wasn't all mosquitoes and turtles; each geocache station offered new inspiration fo…

Don't Miss Out - Environmental Summit 2013

Make This a Summer To Remember
If you're looking for a great summer experience, and you're a rising high school junior or senior, then Redesigning Our Future 2013 is a way to learn while having a great time.

Focus groups range from biology and theatre to economics and new media. You could be kayaking on the preserve lake, taking camp and nature photos, deep frying kudzu, or creating a zen garden.

It's a summer you will never forget.

For more information and application forms, see Redesigning Our Future at the Center for the Environment home page.