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Showing posts from 2015

Green Ink Environmental Camp Bloggers Signing Off for 2015

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Here are your Environmental Summit bloggers for 2015 - Chloe Fedor, Misa Harashima, Annebelle Nagy, Kayla Blackburn, and Margaret Bowerman. You can look through or search the blog to find the stories they shared from Redesigning the Future.

The ladies also put together a poster to showcase their work and spoke with campers at the "What I Learned" showcase about blogging and sharing news and stories.

Counselors for Green Ink Focus Group were Hannah Davis and Mary Scott Norris. Both are students at Catawba College. Hannah will be the student college newspaper editor next year.

Thank you to all the high school Summit bloggers and to the staff counselors for helping document, save, and share the experiences, learning, and fun of the Environmental Summit.

Cafe Kudzu - Eating Invasive Plants at Environmental Camp

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Members of "Invasive Alien Plants and Animals: Friend or Foe to the Environment" led by Dr. Jay Bolin always harvest young kudzu leaves and then deep fry the kudzu leaves during a fun learning activity at Redesigning the Future.

At the end of the week, the environmental campers from the "Invasive" group make fried kudzu and other invasive species specials to share with fellow campers during the end of camp "What We Learned" showcase.

This year, Bolin's group of campers went all out by setting up a full blown cafe and serving a variety of dishes ranging from kudzu quiche to a savory soup. They of course shared their fried kudzu too.

The "Invasive" group campers work hard getting all the food ready in a small campus kitchen and then set up for serving. When the camp crowd arrives, it's pedal to the metal getting samples of salad, soup, smoothie, kudzu tea, quiche, and fried kudzu handed out to the entire camp.

Everyone is asking, "Bu…

Dan Couchenour Tells Campers How Young People CAN Make a Difference

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Dan Couchenour graduated from Catawba College last year (2014) and was invited to the National Summit for the Environment to tell high school students that they really can impact on the world even at a young age.

As a student at Catawba College, Couchenour was a West Scholar, a member of the lacrosse team, and an Environmental Steward. Clearly he was a very busy college student.

Environmental Stewards were challenged to come up with projects to benefit the environment. That can be a big task at any age. What can you do? How can you make it happen?

Couchenour's idea was to reduce campus water usage and use the money saved to set up a Bike Share program. Yes. This does sound like a real challenge. Can you really get fellow college students to voluntarily cut back on water waste? Yes you can. Couchenour proved it.

The first step to pulling off a big project is to enlist the help of everyone involved said Couchenour. He spoke with his lacrosse team and friends on the football team an…

What Do Summer Camp Counselors Look Like at the End of a Camp Day?

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Yes. Being a counselor at the National Environmental Summit is a great and rewarding experience. You not only work and earn money for your college expenses, you get to learn more about environmentalism right along with the high school campers.

Days are long. You're up around 6 am and may get to bed at 11 pm or midnight. Then there are those 2 am room checks. Coffee becomes your best friend even if you don't like coffee.

Here you see some of our counselors trying to hold their eyes open. Okay. They are joking around, but being a counselor is pretty intense as these counselors can tell you.

Is it worth it? You bet!

Thanks to Deep Dave for the funny photo and to all the counselors for taking a summer week to work at Redesigning the Future. They are making a difference too.

Holly Kuhn Enjoyed the Summit So Much She Came Back and Brought a Friend

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Holly Kuhn was one of eight returning campers to Redesigning the Future 2015. You know campers had a good time when they opt to return for another second (or even third) year.

Holly said she loved the camp and her Focus Group "A Backbone for Conservation" so much that she talked her friend, Savannah Herrera, into signing up for camp and joining her this year. Holly said she enjoyed Dr. Joe Poston's section so much that she wanted to take it again and share it with her buddy.

Both young ladies were having a great time this session, and Holly said she'd enjoy coming back a third year.

We think Holly would make a great National Environmental Summit counselor one of these days. She certainly has a passion for the Center for the Environment summer summit.

President Brien Lewis, Dr. John Wear, and Heather White of EWG

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Dr. John Wear, Director of the Center for Environment at Catawba College, welcomed Heather White and Catawba College President Brien Lewis to the 2015 Designing the Future Summit for high school students.

President Lewis noted that Catawba College is an award-winning green college. The college is currently working on a solar panel project which is the largest academic solar panel project in the state of North Carolina. Panels on top of campus buildings will save money and resources over the years which is good for all of us.

Some other projects Lewis mentioned were the sustainable garden on campus and a bike share program for students. These, along with other projects like turning cafeteria waste into compost, make Catawba College an excellent college to major in environmental science or studies.


Heather White, the keynote speaker for 2015, is the executive director of Environmental Working Group (EWG) - a partner on the Redesigning the Future summer camp program. She has a law degre…

What Would Camp Be Without Counselors?

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Meet our counselors for 2015. Camp couldn't run without these high energy college students who live and breathe camp for a week every summer. From setting up events to late night dorm checks and cleaning up messes to coming up with fun ideas, these young people deserve a high five.

Counselors this year include Payden Mitchell, Ashley Everidge, Mary Scott Norris, Brinsley Stewart (head counselor), Seth Stephens, Deep Dave, Hannah Davis, and Forest Fugate.

Catching Turtles to Mark and Track for the Future

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One popular Focus Group at Redesigning the Future is Dr. Joe Poston's "A Backbone for Conservation" group. The campers in the group enjoyed learning about turtles and then trapping some to tag for scientific study.

Here are some photos taken by Payden Mitchell, the student counselor for the "Backbone" group, which included Renuka, Savannah, Ashley, Riley, Holly, Kathryn, Macayla, Caitlin, and Thomas.









Kayaking and Canoeing on the Lake at Environmental Summit 2015

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Campers enjoyed a fun time kayaking and canoeing on the lake at the ecological, wildlife preserve behind the Center for the Environment at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.

Read more about hands-on geocaching with "Green Ink" (blogger group) camper Kayla Blackburn in her educational article on geocaching from earlier in the week.

Here are some great photos of the event provided by summit counselor, Payden Mitchell.














Dialogue Skills with Rocky Mountain Institute

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Today, with the Rocky Mountain Institute, students learned how to have nice dialogue skills with others when having a disagreement. They were told not to just talk; listen to others. Give reasons why you think your idea is better, and then hear the other person out. These were just a few tips the Rocky Mountain Institute gave to the campers.

The students were then thrown into to simulations of a disagreement and were told to use the skills they had just learned about.

The first simulation was that two people were members of a council and they had to decide where to spend their  pretend one-hundred thousand dollar grant. Different groups decided on different ways to spend the money.

The second simulation was that two people were stakeholders around a lake. Different stakeholders wanted different things from the lake, and the six different stakeholders had to compromise on what to do with the lake and how to protect it but get the most out of it.

Students learned how hard it is to comp…

Redesigning Our Future - Eco-Olympics

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By Kayla Blackburn

On Thursday night, a series of Eco-Olympics events were held between randomly divided teams, allowing a respite from focus groups to create new friendships. Each self-named team had to compete in assorted events in both physical and mental fields, led by their skilled counselors.

The games began with a competition that involved each team choosing a popular song and rewriting the lyrics (while also choreographing some awesome dance moves) in a way that dealt with the environment . . . with only 10 minutes to use! The teams then had to perform their songs in front of all the campers at the Summit.

Some song examples were parodies of "Shake It Off" renamed "Save the Earth" and "Let It Go" as "Let It Grow." Not only did these presentations provide a great laugh, but they also ignited many ideas about conservation and recycling.

The next events were the Sack Race, the Three-Legged Race, and the Wheelbarrow Race. Teams demonstrate…

Jupiter, Saturn, and S'mores

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By Annabelle Nagy

On Thursday night, after a long day of speakers and focus groups, the campers got to go to Catawba's observatory. And have s'mores.



To wrap the night up the counselors set up a fun night of relaxing and having fun. Groups of people went up to the observatory to look for planets in the major microscopes at the college. Saturn and Jupiter made their appearances last night. The microscopes were so magnified that you could see the stripes of Jupiter and rings of Saturn. Many students stood looking in the microscopes with their mouths wide open, amazed at what they saw in the sky. The planets moved surprisingly quickly and the microscope would have to be readjusted every couple of minutes or so.

While certain groups were in the observatory others stayed below making s'mores and eating pizza. Off to the side there were students playing cards, goofing off, and having a good laugh. Students of all different backgrounds bonded while roasting marshmallows to perfe…

Redesigning Our Future- Why Bees Are Important

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Today there are approximately 7.125 billion people living on Earth, and the population is only growing. It is common sense that the more people there are the more food that needs to be produced. Crops today are becoming scarce and Genetically Modified Organisms are rapidly replacing naturally grown foods. As more and more farmers start to lose their once pure and uncontaminated farms, the world starves.

It is essential to have these miraculous Hymenoptera on this Earth because of overpopulation. These creatures are killed simply because they are thought to be a 'menace' to the world. We do not give pollinators as much credit as they should get. I am not saying that you should treat bees and other insects with as much respect as the President or anything, but you should know their purpose for this world.

Let's talk honey. Honey can cure your sore throats and heal any cuts. You can put it in tea, or just eat it raw. But if you buy brand name honey it may not be as good. Bran…

Redesigning Our Own Personal Futures By Chloe Fedor

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Everyone holds their own hopes and dreams: their dream college, dream career and dream life. But,  everyone holds different hopes and dreams; usually these aspects in our life are impacted by everything we experience in life. Each and every one of us have been impacted by the Redesigning the Future Environmental Summit this week. Some campers have even envisioned and revised their life goals and dreams while listening and observing the keynote speaker and other speakers from this particular summit. Examples of campers who have revised and envisioned their particular futures this week are:
Macayla Upright, a 17 year old Senior from Salisbury, NC:
"This week has helped me explore my passion for the outdoors and the animals in the outdoors. It has made me consider conservation biology as an option and the activities my group " Backbone For Conservation" have done like turtle trapping. The turtle activity gave me insight on what it is like to be a field scientist."

Dylan…

Gisselle Anaya Learns All About Mosquitoes at Camp

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Summer Campers Get a Closer Look at Mosquitoes and How They Are a Part of Our Environment
"What's Bugging You?" This is a question Redesigning the Future high school campers considered in a summer Focus Group led by Dr. Carmony Hartwig.

Giselle Anaya , one of the campers in the group, said that she first learned about the various types of mosquitoes. While most people may think that a mosquito is just a mosquito, there are a number of different types - around sixty-five with about thirty having been identified at the preserve behind the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.

Using microscopes, the summer campers got a closer look at some of the various types of mosquitoes. Giselle said that there were mosquitoes in colors like purple, gold and yellow. She especially like a gold one with blue highlights.

To check out the mosquitoes, the group put out jars with dry ice behind the campus library and a theatre building which are damp areas. The jars were filled with …

Environmental Conciousness in Urban Areas

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Walking down a street in almost any city in America, you see trash littering the ground. Trees are stunted and surrounded by seas of concrete. Cars are jammed in traffic miles long, emitting toxic pollution into the air. Everywhere around you an urban wilderness extends as far as the eye can see. So the question is raised: How do you reach people in these incredibly urbanized areas and educate them about what they can do to help the environment?


Education can begin with simply alerting the public to what is happening all around. Simply by being on this blog and absorbing the content is educating yourself. The next thing to do is make a lifestyle change. Something as simple as walking to your friends house instead of driving or walking those two extra feet to recycle instead of puttting it in the waste bin.


When the Rocky Mountain Institute came and spoke to the camp at the Center for the Environment (see article), they expressed the importance of connecting different types of activism…

Redesigning Our Future - Kudzu In the Kitchen

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By Kayla Blackburn


Here at the 2015 Redesigning Our Future: National Environmental Summit for High School Students, the Invasive Aliens Plants and Animals: Friend or Foe to the Environment? focus group collected and then cooked the well-known invasive plant called kudzu.

After prepping the kudzu in a batter, students deep-fried the plant to create an interesting treat, called a "kudzu funnel cake" by Grace Vaughan from Fries, Virginia. They also made tea and a kudzu quiche!

So how else is this Asian-native plant used around the world?

Kudzu roots contain starch, which are traditionally treated with pomelo oil and used in beverages in Vietnam. In Japan, the starch is used as a thickener and can also be a substitute for the common kitchen ingredient, cornstarch.

Kudzu powder is used all around eastern Asia to make teas, and flowers that appear on certain strands of kudzu are used to make a sweet jelly that has a flavoring very similar to grape.

Kudzu hay is used worldwide…

"Go Ahead: Change Your Mind" Focus Group - What We've Learned

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Professor: Dr. Seth Holtzman

Counselor Deep Dave talking about the focus group said "It takes a lot to change your mind, but when you learn other people's perspective, it becomes a lot easier."

Emilee Batten: "I love that when we read the poem "Snake" by D. H. Lawrence that everyone interpreted one thing so many different ways. It's so interesting that people have different ideas."

Abbey: "I've enjoyed learning about how the human mind makes decisions and is influenced. I can apply what I learned in this class when trying to convince others about why the environment matters."

Makayla Utt: "My favorite thing about the focus group is learning about everyone's point of views."

Carolina Altunyay: " I love psychology, and the psychology of change is a fascinating and relevant topic. I enjoy hearing the knowledge Dr. Holtzman brings to the table."

Ciena Fedor: "I really enjoyed this focus group because I got t…