Friday, June 26, 2015

Another summer camp bus adventure

Last summer the Southeast Community Services Center summer camp, led by Tiffany Boyd and Sarah McAfee, invited me to present to their summer campers. I suggested we go on a field trip adventure instead, which we did. You can read about the trip to Indy Urban Acres here.

So this summer, when they asked me to return, I had a different destination in mind: Sydney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. The sustainability-minded decisions made by the visionaries and builders of that hospital, located downtown Indianapolis, make it one of the most sustainable hospitals in the country. It is destined for LEED certification; here's a recent story in the IDS about it.

What I especially wanted to show the summer campers (elementary, middle and high school students) was the Sky Farm, on top of Eskenazi's roof. The Fountain Square based summer camp is often engaged in learning about locally grown food.

Plus, as is their custom, the summer camp took this trip on IndyGo, which required transfers. It was a snap to get from Fountain Square to Eskenazi, so we had plenty of time to chill at the Sky Farm, even turn some cartwheels and enjoy and handstand contest.

It was a great day to celebrate sustainability in Indianapolis, from riding IndyGo to marveling Eskenazi. Here are some photos of our field trip. Enjoy!

Waiting for the first bus, in Fountain Square.

Boarding the bus. Using IndyGo's web site, we were able to predict almost exactly when the bus would arrive.
Waiting downtown for the transfer; there was plenty of shade to enjoy...
... and games to play.
Eskenazi's Sky Farm provides food for staff and patients.
Here's most of the group, w/ me in the background!
On the roof.
The aforementioned cartwheels.
At the entrance to the hospital is The Commons, where people can enjoy being outside, including getting their feet wet.
The ride back to Fountain Square: still full of smiles.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Climate Camp: Stinging nettle stew, anyone?

Our June day camp was held at White Pine Wilderness Academy. Unlike our most recent day camps (February and May), there was no problematic weather to endure. We divided the day into two main parts, a walkabout to gather edible plants for our lunch and an afternoon celebration we called Resilient Village: a collection of stations displaying all types of sustainability practices.

Let's start off this report with the day's morning walkabout, led by White Pine's Matt Shull.

Matt, center, shows off an edible plant.
What's edible and what isn't was a constant conversation.
Kids found a log and just wanted to hang out and watch the river.
Collecting stinging nettles for our lunch.
Carter found a debris hut to check out.
Kids found an island to occupy and make their own.
The temptation to get wet was overwhelming.
Climate Campers form a strong community.
Alexis, left, one of our original interns and camp counselors, enjoys a mulberry snack.
Campers munched on mulberries throughout the walkabout.
Maddie, Alexis and Ocean considered the possibilities of mulberries for face paint.
Hanna, left, and Skye, used mud as face paint.
Back at White Pine, we enjoyed our lunch repast of stinging nettle stew, with ingredients mostly gathered during our walkabout. 

Here's Matt Shull's recipe:

Four handfuls of stinging nettle
Two handfuls of garlic mustard
One handful of garlic mustard seed pods
One handful common blue violet
One handful dandelion greens

Rinse and place in stew pot; add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Rapid boil for 2 minutes; simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Once lunch was completed we set about our Resilient Village sustainability stations:

Chris Cruzan, Master Gardener, talks hydroponics with the campers.
Aidan was fascinated by Cruzan's hydroponic set up.
Amos, left, had a prayer tie table next to the sweat lodge, calling attention to the environmental threats to indigenous people.
Campers built a willow dome that will take root and grow and create a meeting space and climbing structure.
Holly Jones from Indiana Urban Forest Council did a presentation on the need for urban trees.
Jerry Zimmerman talked about the importance of bees.
Molly led an art table, focusing on creating origami images of endangered creatures.
There was always the playground to provide a break from the stations.

It's hard for me to compare our day camps. They are each unique; each a joy. But this one, with its looser structure, left a lot of breathing room for our intergenerational group to get to know each other and just have fun.

Next camp is our week long camp at Peace Learning Center, July 20-24. Interested? You'll need to register.

Our next day camp will be held at Paramount School of Excellence. Hope you can join us!