Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eco-edutaining youth since 2007

See Recyclique & Workshops pages for up-to-date info on our activities.

A quickie history:
YIKES! (the organization that led to Recyclique and CommunEcos) originated in Spring 2007 through a joint project of Clean Energy Durham (CED) and two classes at the NC School of Science and Math to identify homes with potential to benefit from solar hot water in the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood. Around 30 students attended workshops, surveyed the neighborhood for solar exposures, then leafleted over 243 homes that their survey indicated had good solar potential. Then organizer and YIKES! founder Sandy Smith-Nonini, an anthropologist who had been part of a recent research project on solar hot water for residential use, conducted several slide shows for interested homeowners. Through an arrangement with CED, local solar installers offered participating homeowners a discount in months that followed.

In Spring 2008 YIKES! members took part in the Youth Climate Action Project (Y-CAP) - a series of workshops sponsored by NC Climate Advocacy Network, of Raleigh, including a rain barrel painting workshop and a series of sessions on climate change science and policy, in preparation for youth lobby day at the State Legislature in Raleigh on June 4th, where teens presented arguments for bills under debate that would reduce the carbon footprint of our society. The teens researched the bills they argued for, and their passion made an impression on lawmakers. Misti Pinter, a local filmmaker, documented the Youth CAP in a series of Podcasts that can be seen on the NC-CAN website, and aired on Channel 8, Chapel Hill's public access channel. Y-CAP was organized by Laura Thigpen, an environmental educator in Raleigh, and was funded by a grant from SURGE (Students United for a Responsible Global Environment) through UNC's Environmental Resources office.

The Y-CAP project spawned our 1st rain barrel painting event. After our first workshop in March, attended by 35 teens, YIKES! sponsored barrel-painting booths at 2008 and 2009 Earth Day festivals in Durham and at the Eno River Festival on July 4th weekend both years.

In June & July 2008 proceeds from rain barrel sales helped the Forest Foundation purchase new lighting and electrical connections for our EcoLounge space. Roque, Hana and Sarah, three talented YIKES! artists, also painted a fabulous mural of ocean and African ecologies on the walls of the space. A stage was built and a Pullen Baptist youth group painted a white backdrop for the stage for projecting slides and videos. In August 2008 rain barrel proceeds allowed us to buy a digital projector for educational workshops.

YIKES! sponsored a classroom project on the science of oilseeds crops funded by a $1000 grant from Project Learning Tree, in collaboration with Marion Brisk, a professor at the NC School of Science and Math. Dr. Brisk's students are studying prospects for canola, as a new winter crop for that will benefit NC farmers, while providing a sustainable local source of oil for both the restaurant and biofuel industries.