On March 26th, 2020 Green Camps hosted a zoom conference call with camp and sustainability professionals to share the challenges, successes and resources to support the camp community in modeling sustainability. This was the first in a series of educational outreach Green Camps wants to host to build more awareness around the opportunity we have to inspire green behavior change in the millions of youth and adults impacted by the camp experience each year.
We’re excited to gather feedback from this call to help drive the kind of speakers, topics and education we can provide through this format.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend I wanted to share a recording of the call. I hope you can gain a few gems to stash in your satchel of wisdom. I also wanted to share some of the questions and comments that we received to drive our conversations along with the resources to help answer those questions. Enjoy!
Have other resources you’d like to share? Send them our way! It’s going to take a huge community effort to overcome the challenges our planet is facing.
Connect with Anna Maria Desipris and Lucian Toma
This is the video that Lucian referred to as an overview to better understand food forests. Check it out!
Are there any documents or protocols to ask share with construction companies?
A great website to help find places that will accept all kinds of recyclables in your community. www.earth911.com
Concrete can be reused into planter beds, lumber can be saved for compost building, garden bed building, greenhouses and more
Does anyone involve campers or students in sustainability activities? What does that include?
There are a lot of ways to involve campers in sustainability activities. One idea is to discuss the role of sustainability at your camp during orientation and let them know what they can do to support your efforts.
Here’s a link to a blog with a fun, easy intro activity to open up the conversation about sustainability. https://www.greencamps.org/2019/11/19/the-equi-distance-game/
Green Camps will be publishing an article in the summer staff training edition of the ACA Camping Magazine. The focus of the article is to support camp staff in modeling sustainable behavior in simple ways that can engage their campers.
The majority of our conversation centered around composting. Specifically educational signage, programs and support to manage a compost system.
In 2015, Green Camps hosted a webinar called, “I Can Compost and So Can You”. Below are recordings from our presenters.
One of the things we do is let our campers mash our green compost materials and mixing of all of the materials. We told them what we were doing and why this year we are going to have them take part in the gardening at camp.
I would also like to see your composting system as this is one of our biggest projects. Thank you!
What do you find to be the right balance for compost? At my site we have tried to use our kitchen excess, but wound up with too much vegetable matter, and an ineffective process. Have learned a lot since then, but would like to hear about your practical steps to balance.
Here is a video of one of our Member of the Month camps, Catalina Island Camps sharing their incredible compost and garden program.
Any issues with bears?
Wildlife can pose a challenge when it comes to composting, especially if their local food sources are limited. The most important thing you can do is manage your compost pile to reduce the odor from attracting bears. I would also recommend that you start very small. This goes for any kind of green action. Starting small reduces the upfront energy and cost devoted to a project and will allow you to learn what works best at your unique facility.
Check out this pdf that provides some more information on composting in bear country.
If anyone has any conservation signage for cabins/buildings they’d be willing to share, I’d love to get some resources already created so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel!
Signage is one of the most powerful education tools. The learner gets to take in the information in their own time, process it and come to a decision on their own. I love the idea of recycling stations in this regard. A good sign could actively reduce the amount of recyclables ending up in the landfill. Furthermore, consider the impact of the campers taking these actions home after they leave camp.
We would love to see photos of signs or education posted about composting
These signs came from Catalina Island Camps where they divert over 20,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill.
Have some good examples of educational signage you’d like to share? Let us know and we’ll make sure to make it available to the camp community.
One of our volunteers is currently working on developing signage to respond to the interest we’ve received for this resource.
I would love to get more details about your ‘energy audit’ some of our kids would definitely get really into that, a lot of our kids already rate our fountains! 🙂
Thank you to Katie Miesle for sharing these resources to engage campers in conducting an energy audit at camp!
Thank you again to everyone who participated and we are excited to build more awareness around sustainability through this work.
We invite you to attend future calls, share your stories and join as a member of Green Camps to further support your efforts and the mission to support camps in this important work!
Find us on facebook @gogreencamps to join the conversation.