As Nashville prepared for the Country Music Association’s annual four-day Music Festival, the high-school students attending HON’s first week-long Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) Summer Camp of 2015 gained new appreciation for sustainable living as a form of community outreach. Organized by YVC AmeriCorps Member Ashleigh Barker, and led by Stephanie, a Hands On Nashville Summer Youth Leader, youth spent the mornings building new knowledge of climate issues, food systems (local and global), and sustainable living practices through fun and engaging group-learning activities.
Youth expanded their knowledge during an “Environmental Jeopardy” quiz game, an interactive exercise exploring world hunger, a hands-on experiment in “How to Make Your Own Cleaning Solution” (it’s easy, inexpensive, and far less toxic!), and even a brief history of the American Bison, the near-extinction of which motivated lawmakers to create Yellowstone National Park (the world’s first nature preserve) in 1872.
Supported by HON staff, volunteers, and our non-profit partners, campers also braved unseasonably warm weather to integrate meaningful service into the learning process, spending several hours each afternoon working at a Nashville non-profit organization dedicated to environmental sustainability.
Campers placed straw on garden beds, removed a diseased tree, and planted corn starts at Bellevue Edible Learning Lab; removed trash and flood debris from a stream with Cumberland River Compact ; cleared brush from bird nesting boxes at Shelby Bottoms; completed more waterway restoration at The Percy and Edwin Warner Parks; and weeded sweet potato beds and laid mulch at the Hands On Nashville Urban Farm!
HON’s YVC Environment Week owed much of its success to our partners from Urban Green Lab, Community Food Advocates, and FarmOne whose generous contributions of time and programming helped to bring sustainability and environmental stewardship to life!
For more information about Summer Camp visit www.hon.org/summercamp.