'Going Green' at NCI

August 1, 2011

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Area students learned the importance of being environmentally conscious last week during the Going Green Camp at the New College Institute.

“I think it’s important to go green so that our planet will not turn into a waste dump,” said Christopher Asbury, a rising fifth-grader at Patrick Henry Elementary School.

He was one of eight area students rising into grades three through seven who took part in the camp.

“We like to do this camp because there’s such a move to go green, and we want to promote going green to the community and to young people,” said Steve Keyser, coordinator of community engagement at NCI. “We want to teach the students to be conscious of how to reuse and recycle things in our environment” and hope they can pass that along to others, Keyser said.

“They’re the generation that needs to accept the going green idea,” said Jordan Johnson, one of the teachers at the camp.

The camp lasted all week, and each day, the students learned about different ways to “go green.”

The camp, which is in its second year, was different this year in that students got to do more hands-on projects, Johnson said. On Tuesday, the students worked on building and designing their own wind turbines.

Christopher enjoyed getting to design the six rotor blades of the turbine. He and his partner, Michelle Breedlove, used a fire and water theme for their blades with orange, yellow and blue colors throughout their design, he said.

By building the turbines, the students were learning how turbines, a clean fuel source, are being used to help the planet.

“The turbines have generators in them, and they don’t put out pollution,” said Will Gardner, a rising third-grader at Patrick Henry Elementary.

At the start of the week, the students learned about recycling methods. They learned about the “three Rs- reduce, reuse and recycle,” Johnson said.

One recycling technique that Christopher learned was that after you’ve finished with a bottle of water, “refill the water bottle with more water instead of just throwing it away,” he said. “If we recycle, we will not have so much garbage going into landfills.”

Another way to recycle is by composting. “Eggs and bananas can be put into a compost pile, and they turn into soil,” Will said.

Michelle, who is a rising sixth-grader at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School, said she recycles at home.

“I have a box that I put bottles and things like that in,” she said. “If we don’t recycle then it (the planet) is going to be a dirty place.”

Mid-week, the students learned about solar energy and how solar panels are used. Each student got to make his or her own solar ovens out of pizza boxes.

On Thursday, a trip to the Virginia Museum of Natural History was planned, where students were to take a tour of the museum and learn about more ways to go green, according to Johnson. At the end of the week, the students were to make green tie-dye shirts and green slime, Johnson said.


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