On June 6, Hands On Nashville’s Youth Volunteer Corps launched its three-week summer camp with five days of service-learning focused around the environment!
After a week of volunteer leader training, two of our “Hyped on Help”ers, Abi and Hallie (pictured above), led their group in team building activities, participating in service projects, and end-of-day reflections. Every day of environment week brought new projects, new speakers, and new challenges. Overall, the campers learned about issues facing our global environment, and more specifically, how everyday actions can have a larger impact than we think on the world around us.
During a visit to the Cumberland River Compact, a Nashville water conservation nonprofit, the campers learned how people affect their surrounding waters through an interactive watershed model. They learned about flood effects in urbanized areas, water contamination from various different sources, issues facing the Cumberland River, and the limitations of Earth’s water supply. On a smaller scale, campers learned personal tips and tricks for combating these issues.
At the OASIS bike workshop, the campers were able to get hands on experience servicing and caring for a bike. Later in the day, they also learned the environmental importance of alternate methods of transportation, such as biking and walking, and the impact they can have on reducing carbon emissions in the environment. The bikes that the campers helped refurbish are part of ReCYCLE for Kids, a larger project to recycle used bikes and distribute them to children living in underserved neighborhoods.
Nothing says environment week like a stream cleanup! During a project at Coopers Creek, campers were able to remove eight bags of trash and cleaned about 1,056ft of natural waterway. The removal of debris from waterways improves the quality of the water as well as the habitats that depend on it!
A visit from Urban Green Lab gave campers an interactive look into sustainable concepts and how we can adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle. The new solar-powered Mobile Lab was an amazing tool for learning about energy use, waste, food production, water conservation and more! The campers especially loved the energy-saving, human-powered blender! Fruit smoothies on a hot summer day were the perfect cap to learning about sustainability. Thanks, Urban Green Lab, for bringing out your mobile lab!
To end the week, campers were given a small budget for Nashville’s recycled arts and crafts store, Smart Art, to pick out materials to create an upcycled art project. So much of what we use goes to waste, so an upcycle craft is the perfect way to visualize how something old can be turned into something new! Campers were able to craft while watching Dr. Seuss’s, The Lorax. We had some amazing projects but the winner of the upcycle challenge was Ava with her 100% recycled coat hanger! (Can you spot the eyeglasses?)
Thank you to all those who participated in this week, it would not have been the same without you!
To learn more about Hands On Nashville, and how you can volunteer, visit HON.org.