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.
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.
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!