The climate crisis is causing species of plants and animals to disappear to the point of extinction. We are the opposing force to this disaster in the making. In 2006 we began our goal of spreading "green" knowledge and technologies to our region as well as jump starting a massive recycling and energy conservation effort in our community. We are the driving force behind the "green" movement and our goal is to spread knowledge about how to make a "greener" tomorrow.
In the fall of each year our club spends a weekend at the largest national recreational center in the U.S., Land Between the Lakes. Brandon Springs Environmental Learning Center is our home away from home where we participate in many hands-on environmental studies. We calculate the health of three water ecosystems using the macro invertebrates and the physical properties of the water as our environmental indicator. Comparing the pond, the stream, and the lake has taught us about the uniqueness of different water habitats. We participate in intensive leadership training and teambuilding that help us to learn how to work together efficiently. We waste little time dealing with the petty issues most high school clubs face. Our ability to recognize each other's differences and embrace them makes us a better team.
This club's projects are identified and conducted by students. Any school with a motivated group of young people can implement their campus' environmental impact through improving operations. This project has far reaching impacts in the community because of the efforts put forth to conduct an environmental evaluation of the school utilizing the many tools available at the state and national levels. Businesses in our community regularly reach out to invite us into their world to conduct environmental audits, evaluate results, and offer suggestions. We have worked with the county hospital, local shelter, and the county seat police department to name a few. Special effort is made to network with state and national associations and departments working in environmental impact studies. These efforts have been funded by many small grants, fundraisers, and sponsorships that recognize a youth driven initiative. These initiatives have far reaching impacts in the local community. The club's concerted efforts to use the media to spread the club's "Green" message have reached millions. National organizations such as the National Wildlife Federation, NEED (National Energy Education Development), Earth Day Network, and Teens for Planet Earth have provided great resources and training options for any school that would like to begin a project. We are a service-learning organization that engages youth in an ongoing process to access quality implementation and to progress toward meeting specified goals by collecting data and evaluating the results. We encourage practical actions with impacts in the community.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Green Schools Program, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Community Assistance, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Energy Division, National Energy Education Development, Teens for Planet Earth, and Earth Day Network have provided our contact information, and some have used copies of our student generated PowerPoint along with other student generated materials in their presentations and conferences. We were provided the opportunity to participate in the National Youth Service Learning's first Environmental Service, Volunteer Tennessee Youth Service Conference and the East Tennessee Environmental Conference. We provided attendants an opportunity to participate in leadership and teambuilding activities and shared the club's projects and partnerships with fellow youth and teachers.
We have made presentations about energy conservation and its relationship to environmental stewardship before city and county mayors' boards of alderman, county commission solid waste committee, hospital administration, and local school board. New policies have been put in place along with recycling and energy conservation programs have been established.