Blog by Catherine Leon, Black Rock Solar
GREENevada, the environmental education group that Black Rock Rock Solar co-founded in 2010, hosted its first ever Student and Teacher Leadership Retreat this past week. Eleven teachers and twenty-six students from nine different schools participated in the retreat at Sierra Nevada Journey’s beautiful Grizzly Creek Ranch campus in Portola, CA. Through this 3-day event, participants geared up to lead their school’s Green Clubs and committed to a number of exciting initiatives for the year.
The event began Thursday – a day dedicated to teachers and their development as green leaders. Participants networked and participated in team building activities led by Grizzly Creek Ranch staff and GREENevada members. It was a memorable day for all involved as teachers from diverse schools across northern Nevada built relationships, developed networks of support and explored innovative ideas for their environmental clubs.
On Friday, teachers began the day in a workshop on ways to improve their club advising and leadership. Students arrived soon afterwards and received an inspiring call to action by Rebecca Anderson from ACE. Students and teachers then participated together in workshop sessions presented by GREENevada members designed to help them gain skills, knowledge, and resources for their school’s green initiatives. Topics included alternative transportation, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and school gardens.
After the workshops, GREENevada facilitated a panel discussion with local experts including (pictured below left to right) Mark Stanton, Chief Capital Projects & Facilities Management Office for the Washoe County School District, Sheila Po’oi, Sparks High School teacher who began a successful school garden, Kelly Cannon, K-12 Science Program Coordinator for WCSD, and Julie Hunter, Senior Air Quality Specialist for the Washoe County Air Quality Management Division.
Teachers left after the panel discussion feeling energized and supported to make a difference at their school. Now it was the students’ turn to get on the ropes course!
After a day of informative workshops and team building activities, students enjoyed dinner and discussed the green initiatives they’d like to take on for their schools. GREENevada presented its own No Idling campaign, and students from all participating schools jumped on board this exciting project aimed at improving air quality in and around schools by preventing automotive idling. Students will also be working on their own school initiatives including a walk and bike day, re-establishing recycling systems, fixing and fundraising for school gardens, ending use of oil for heating, and installing solar arrays.
On Saturday, students and GREENevada members volunteered at KTMB’s Truckee River Cleanup Day in Reno. KTMB Executive Director, Christi Cakiroglu, noted they had never been finished cleaning up Rock Park so quickly, all thanks to the students who provided such amazing help.