Thursday, July 10, 2014

Backbone for Conservation: Bird Catching

By: Jumana Mograbi

The focus group walking to their destination in the

 Ecological Preserve

Bright and early the campers in the Backbone focus group headed out to the Ecological Preserve for their bird catching activity.

The campers studied the birds and the sounds which attracted them into the net which they later on set up in the Preserve.

The campers then set up an iPod underneath the net which projected bird calls in order to attract them. After a 45 minute wait, a bird flew into the net and went quickly down the slope into the bottom of the net.

The campers observed the features and structure, and all got a chance to hold each bird. After the bird was studied and observed, it was released and set free again.

We interviewed Alyssa, a camper who participated in the activity about her experience this morning:

"What did you think of this activity?"

A: "Very interesting, it took a lot of patience to wait for the bird and it took a lot of concentration as well."

"What happened when you caught the bird?"

A: " You had to hold his neck gently with one hand, and his body with the other while he wrapped his feet around your fingers."

"Would you like to do it again?"

A: "Yeah! It was really fun."

Setting up the net

Checking Out a Prothonotory Warbler

Morning Hike in the Preserve, Maps and Untwisting the Human Knots

 By: Payton Coleman and Alia Dahlan

We started the day off yesterday morning with a beautiful morning hike exploring bio-mimicry in the preserve. Showered in bug spray and sunscreen we explored the 189-acre ecological preserve looking for resourceful clues placed to teach about how we can look to nature for design and engineering solutions.

Geocaching in the Fred Stanback, Jr. Ecological Preserve
Having Fun in the Preserve
Later that day we were visited by the Rocky Mountain Institute, and they taught us about the 5 types of activism which are political, educational,organizational,economic and lifestyle activism.

Splitting into groups we talked about  the different types of activism and how we use them in our everyday lives. Followed by a 30 second group discussion with one person from each group sharing their experience with the rest of the group.

We then read a story about the side effects of DDT when used to cure malaria in Borneo for the Dayak people. Then we drew an ecological diagram of events that occurred in the story. As a group we found this to be an interesting project to be worked on, because we had to consider all the affects that could be caused by the spraying of DDT in the Borneo area.

Systems Thinking and Innovative Design activities

After these group activities, we had a chance to unwind with a team-building human knot exercise. We broke into groups, linked hands, and the rest is history. Our chaotic, fun experience began when 8-10 people in each group were linked together to form a turbulent body of people. Though none of the groups successfully untangled our knots, the experience was one for the memory books.

Groups during the Human Knot Exercise

They're Back! A Tribute to Returning Camp Counselors

By: Cierra Hunter

Here we are in the summer of 2014 and a group of around 50 students are attending an environmental summit at Catawba College, North Carolina.

These students are able to learn and experience nature at its best, along with getting to know nine amazing counselors who have either graduated or are attending Catawba College.

This year we are glad to say that three of these wonderful counselors are back in action! These counselors are Katie Barbee, Morgan King and Kerstin Brown.

I asked each of these counselors four questions and had them answer back to me.

Katie responded like this: What made you come back again this year? She said, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the Summit last year after learning a lot more about the Environment, hearing some great speakers, and meeting a variety of talented, hardworking, and environmentally-conscious campers. The wide variety of activities, focus groups, and people make all the difference."

 Katie Barbee - Giving Back as a Graduate of Catawba College

We then asked her what is your favoite memory of this summit? She replied "My favorite memory so far, since it's late on Wednesday night, has to be the Tie-Dye and games. It was great to see everyone mingle and have fun."

Thirdly we wondered what group were you a part of last year? Katie told us, "I was a part of Dr. Bolin's Invasive Alien Plants and Animals group in the previous year."

Lastly we asked her what is something you are excited about in the week to come? So She replied, "I'm excited to listen to what each group has done throughout the week, at the Festival" 

We are very happy to have Katie back here after she graduated in the Spring.

The second person I talked to was Morgan, She was able to answer the same questions from her own experiences.

I asked Morgan what made her come back again and she answered, "I loved working the summit last year, and thought the summit was very interesting. I also love being able to be back at Catawba for a week."

Morgan Talks with Camp Photographer Eli Wittum

Then I asked the question of what her favorite memory at the summit was. She replied, "My favorite memory was meeting the students last year."

I was also able to ask her what group she was a part of last year. Morgan told me, "I was the Green Ink Blogger Counselor last year. I am so  hapy to be a Counselor for this group again this year."

Finally we talked about something she was excited about in the week to come. Morgan said, "Working with the bloggers is what I'm most excited about. I am looking forward to have a great blog by the end of the week."

I was glad I got to meet Morgan this summer and want to wish her good luck in the fall!

The third and final counselor is Kerstin Brown. Kerstin has been here at the Summit as both a student and a counselor, giving her a well-rounded perspective of the Summit.

She was able to answer the four questions along with Katie and Morgan.

Her answers went like this.

What made you come back? Kerstin replied, "I came back because I love seeing the passion, creativity, drive, and enthusiasm that the campers have."

Secondly I asked her, What is your favorite memory of this summit? Kerstin said, "When I was a camper I enjoyed the Dragonfly Pond Exercise. And I always enjoyed the speakers."

Then I asked her, "What group were you a part of last year?" She answered, "I was a counselor for "Backbone for Conservation."

My final question was about what she enjoyed most, and she said: "EcoOlympics! I enjoy healthy competition."

Kerstin will be back at Catawba in the fall to attend her junior year in college, so good luck to her and have fun! I was glad to have met Kerstin, Morgan, Katie, and of course all the others involved in making this summit happen for me and the other students, this year.

Heather White - Environmental Working Groups

  Photo collage by Aydan  Smith

Heather White conducts an activity about the main components of an interview

Heather White is the Executive Director of Environmental Working Group (EWG) and is a "nationally-recognized expert on federal environmental law & policy"

She provided emphasis on this:

"We believe in a strong, vibrant,well-funded EPA and robust authority for the administrator."

Water, Muck and Leeches!!!

By Colleen Smiley

The invasive species group ventured into the pond in the Preserve to look for the illusive Carolina paper shell mussel yesterday.

The only way to find this bivalve was to bend way over and dig your hands into what felt like centuries of primordial ooze (since you can't see through the mud and muck) the only way to discover them was by touch.

With a lot of crawling and feeling around, the group was able to discover six Carolina paper shell mussels.

The laughter began when everyone discovered that the small "worms" were really little leeches!! Field work is amazing.

Rocky Mountain Institute Sessions

By Alia Dahlan

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Using clips from television shows, volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Institute taught us about how communication can be used to solve complex "wicked" problems.
We learned a few communication terms:
Downloading- not listening to others
Debating- arguing one side with a strong view
Dialoging- having a bias, but listening to the other side of the argument for new information
Presencing- having no personal bias and focusing on the problem

Grant Funding Activity

We decided where to allocate $100k worth of grants at Catawba College.

Dragon Fly Lake

We used a role-playing game to decide how to utilize a fictional lake and the area around it.

Wednesday Fun Night at Redesigning the Future Environmental Summit

After a long day of seminars, group sessions, and geocaching, the campers get some relaxing fun time. Campers and counselors enjoy snow cones, music, ultimate Jenga, tie dye and watched hit Disney movie Frozen. 

Counselor Theo Shepard is extremely worried about this giant tower falling on him as it's his turn to pull a piece out. The air got tense as campers watched pieces stack on this tower, waiting for someone to mess up.                                                                                                                                                         

          Campers sit in the dark and eat popcorn as they watch Disney movie Frozen. Sofas and lounge chairs made the experience fun and comfy. It was like being in a movie theater with just a couple of people napping away.                                                                                            

              Campers designing their own custom tie-dye shirts with many colors. Table cloths definitely contained the messiness of dye.
 Save the tower!!!!!!!!

Counselor Payden Mitchell serves up those snow cones with a side of smile. They should change it from snow cones to shaved ice cones, but they were still good overall.

Everyone had fun that night even though we didn't get to go to the observatory due to the weather, but the movie made up for it.

Why I Spent Part of my Summer at Environmental Camp

Redesigning the Future Summit Students Hanging Out on the Library Steps Waiting for the Next Activity

The lazy days of summer. That may be the case for some, but many students spend time during the summer doing production things. Some work. Some help around the house or farm. Others expand on their education. This summer a great group of students attended the national environmental camp for high school students in Salisbury, NC.

Why did they come?

Each had different reasons, and here are a few campers explaining why they selected an educational camp (which also happens to be loads of fun too).

Fabian Navarro - "I came to the Environmental Summit this summer, because I really enjoyed my experience last summer here at Catawba. This summer I want to learn more about mammals in a habitat, the presence and absence in different ecosystems."

Robert Benish (from Virginia) - "I came to learn more about how to save and conserve the environment around me. I hope to gain friends and information about the environment. I also hope to gain inspiration from other people."

Mosi Archey - "I love knowledge. I love knowledge."

Cierra Hunter - "I came to ENV camp to get more experience with biology and the environment as a whole. I have gotten many hands on experiences so far, and I love it.

Rachel Salinas - "I came to environmental camp, because I wanted to learn more about science, and I wanted to experience something new. I hope to gain more knowledge about science, and I hope to gain friendships."

Vincent Benish (from Virginia) - "I came here, because I thought it could be a great idea."

Victoria Chien - "My mother received an e-mail about this camp, and she decided that I should attend. I hope to gain knowledge as well as more social skills."

Aydan Smith - "I came to this camp, because I want to learn more about the environment and the world surrounding me."