So, what does the SoCe Director of Environmental Programs do? Well, last week I went and spoke to the Augusta school district’s 3rd and 4th grade Green Team members. I think there were about 75 students present. I had been asked to present on the topic of bicycle generators. We discussed renewable and nonrenewable forms of energy and the pros and cons of using a bicycle to generate electricity. The students and teachers had the opportunity to do some pedaling. I think every single student raised their hand to volunteer (or to nominate their teacher) to pedal. For long-legged individuals, I had the Bartlett Arboretum tandem bike available. It was attached to a car alternator and powered a desk lamp and a three-speed oscillating fan. For younger volunteers, there was a small bicycle equipped with a bottle generator on the back tire. When students pedaled, a pattern of LED lights illuminated on the front of the bike. Students experimented to determine the slowest pedaling rate needed to power the lights.
At the end of my visit to Augusta, I asked the students to share what they are doing to care for the environment. Many hands were raised! Students gave me a variety of answers: vermicomposting (using worms to break down food scraps), backyard composting, gardening, recycling, picking up trash around the school, and using rain barrels. I look forward to hearing how these students and others like them continue to find ways to care for our planet.