Conservation Action Force…Summer Camp 2011

By Brenna Goggin: Environmental Advocate

Monday, August 8th started out like every other day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and summer campers were arriving to tackle all of the state’s environmental issues, or at least try. The first day campers learned how the legislative process works, listened to School House Rock (“I’m just a bill…), and debated their first piece of legislation.

Day two started out with a long drive down to Lewes to learn about wind energy and tour the University of Delaware’s 2-megawatt wind turbine. Did you know that this wind turbine produces enough power to meet all of UD’s Lewes campus energy needs and powers about 120 homes in the area?  Since some of our campers received letters from their constituents (they were elected officials after all!), they had several questions regarding the dangers wind turbines pose  to birds and bats, the cleanliness of wind energy, and how it compares to other energy sources like fossil fuels. Graduate student Blaise Sheridan walked the campers right up to the turbine to explain how the energy travels from the turbine to the power station. Blaise and Chris Petrone also took us through a kite exercise to show how the wind currents are stronger and therefore can produce more energy the higher up they are.

Conservation Action Force campers walk towards the University of Delaware Wind Turbine near Lewes.

Day three and four were spent learning about climate change, the food cycle, and sustainable agricultural products. The campers went through several hands-on activities to learn about the greenhouse effect, the importance of even small creatures in the circle of life, and how to build your own sustainable, eco-friendly farm. Ideas ranged from raising yaks to dinosaurs, but the main task of the day was to control the waste, runoff, and other environmental side effects of farming in a safe and economical way.

Finally, we traveled to the Delaware state capitol to bring our issues to the attention of people with power! Campers toured Legislative Hall, met with Senator Bushweller to discuss some of their environmental concerns, and learned the history of the first state. In the afternoon, the camp made a presentation to Deputy DNREC Secretary Dave Small where their issues and concerns were voiced. 

The grand finale of the camp was to take action for the environment and speak to legislators at the Delaware State Capital.

In the end, the Conservation Action Force campers learned current environmental issues through hands-on activities, and gained experience with effectively voicing their concerns.  In this way, environmental education comes full circle.

If you have a conservationist in the making at home, consider this camp in 2012!

3 thoughts on “Conservation Action Force…Summer Camp 2011”

  1. Dell:

    Wind turbines, especially onshore turbines, have the potential to negatively impact wildlife, specifically birds and bats. Placement of wind turbines in migratory routes are detrimental and should be avoided. In order to better understand the impacts to birds and bats, the University of Delaware is undergoing an intense two year study, which will assess the mortality risk of birds and bats around the turbine. The study is led by UD Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology researchers Jeffrey Buler and Gregory Shriver. A complementary project at the wind turbine that focuses solely on bats is being conducted by an expert at Delaware State University. The UD project began March 1, with spring and fall sampling periods focusing on birds and bats migrating through the area and summer and winter periods on resident bird and bat flight activity. For additional information, please feel free to contact Brenna Goggin @ brenna@delawarenaturesociety.org

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