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.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our campus

NOTE: In March 2011 we moved our workshop to 2811 Hillsborough Rd. where we opened a combination retail and environmental education space in late May. See photo and description on the Recyclique page of this website.
From May 2009 until March 2011 our workshop space was on the Green Oil and Light (GOAL) Campus (on S. Goley St., just off Angier Ave). We held three volunteer work days in fall 09 to insulate the Recyclique workshop (many thanks to Travis Cohn, Don Nonini, Susan O'Neil & the Durham Tech Brownsfield course grads for their help). And in July 2010 Anthony Watts helped us extend an HVAC duct into the space for AC and heat (so civilized!).

YIKES!'s Recyclique project shared space with GreenWay Transit &
Biodiesel on the GOAL Campus, which offers green job training and serves as an incubator for new sustainable enterprises.

A pre-May 2009 retrospective:
The EcoLounge (see photo below) was our old “environmental learning lab” and community space, from Aug. 2007 to May 2009.  This was a large day-lit warehouse space, in a building shared with Carolina Biofuels at 1404 Angier Ave. This first "Green Oil Campus" was featured in the Independent Weekly's Earth Day 2009 Green Living Issue: French Fries in your Tank.

Scheduling a Workshop

Our Green Training Faculty: 

Marc Dreyfors, MS, director of Carolina Biodiesel and the Forest Foundation, is an Environmental Educator and a board member of Environmental Educators of North Carolina. He received a Masters degree from Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, and has over a decade's experience in fair trade, biofuels and green transit. 

Sandy Smith-Nonini, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor of anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill, who previously taught anthropology at Elon University for 5 years. She teaches courses on environmental activism and sustainable development, and participated in a 2006-07 research project, funded by the UNC business school on solar hot water for NC homeowners.

Anthony Watts, BA, Communications (UNC) -- Green Energy Consultant and experienced carpenter, with experience in plumbing, electrical and solar technology. Anthony was a research associate on the above UNC solar project.  

We draw on a number of local experts as guest speakers.

Mentoring: No charge – must be projects that we have agreed to sponsor.
Standard Workshops: $60 -groups of 15 or less; or $4/student, up to 30 max.
Intensive workshops: $85 -groups of 15 or less, or $5.50/student up to 30 max.
Mobile workshops: We can do presentations at your site of choice within the Triangle area for the above (3-hour) rate, plus a travel charge ($25, Durham; $35 Chapel Hill/Raleigh), contingent on availability of personnel. Likewise, we can bring your students to our site using biofuel-powered vans or buses.
Hydration/Nutrition (on-site events):
* Optional refreshments: cold drinks and healthy snack, $1.80 person for 12 or under; $1.50/person for larger groups. (recommended for longer workshops)
* Optional healthy lunch w/ drinks: $10 per person (local food, as seasonally available, catered by 9th Street Bakery)
Note: At present CommunEcos and the Forest Foundation are staffed by volunteer labor. But we do have to pay rent, buy equipment, supplies, & fuel and we aspire towards paid staff. Our goal is to pool community skills and knowledge to build a facility and network that serves the public as we transition to a more sustainable society. We need your participation and generosity to offer these programs. All proceeds from educational events and fundraising activities go back into the non-profit – to improve our space and deepen our capacity for education and outreach projects.