Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) And REACH teamed up to teach the participants of CCNB’s Project Regeneration Program, a free program developed to educate and empower young adults ages 12 – 17 to become aware of local environmental issues and develop community leadership skills.
Kelsey Bechelli, who helps administers CCNB’s Project Regeneration comments on the program:
“The youth work in teams of 10 with 2 adult supervisors to learn about environmental conservation, perform a variety of restoration and environmental service projects, become environmental leaders in their schools and communities, and have a lot of fun (we hope). This summer the program will have 100 participants and focuses on the 4 R’s: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
REACH Program Director, Michael Gutman, was invited by CCNB to conduct a solar oven workshop for 10 of the participants of the Project Regeneration Program. Workshop attendees learned how to create a solar oven using common household materials, which includes string, aluminum foil, cardboard, glue, a cooking pot and scissors. Everyone got their hands dirty as we made the solar oven and helped prepare the food. The menu consisted of fresh veggies, cheese, eggs and chicken sausage.
After the solar oven workshop and while we waited for the food to cook in the sun, Project Regeneration went to work in the San Pedro Community Garden, a garden developed and maintained by San Pedro Elementary School in San Rafael. Working together, REACH and CCNB helped to remove invasive species, plant new crops and keep the garden tidy. All of the produce from the community garden is redistributed back into San Pedro Elementary School community. The garden is used to educate the community and the school of the importance of organic food, slow food growth and the process of how food gets to our table.
After a couple of hours of hard work in the community garden, it was time to eat lunch, and check out how the food being cooked in the solar oven. The dish was oven baked into an awesome, cheesy, gooey, veggie scramble, which everyone happily devoured. Everyone from Project Regeneration learned a valuable lesson. Using renewable, clean energy sources can reduce carbon emissions, save energy costs, conserve resources and be extremely delicious.
Bechelli comments on the workshop and the relationship with REACH:
“The workshop was great! Mike taught our team why solar energy is better for the planet and went over all of the fossil fuels and resources conserved by cooking this way instead of in a conventional oven. The oven-building workshop definitely encouraged our team to rethink (why use coal or gas when you can use the energy of the sun?), reduce (their carbon footprints and energy use), and reuse (cardboard and aluminum to build something super cool). These are all goals for project ReGen and the workshop accomplished them in a fun and engaging way. Our students will use this information to teach their peers how to build and use a solar oven at our All Team Day next Friday, July 6, and hopefully in their own homes as well.”
REACH gladly donated the oven that was built during the workshop so the team could continue to cook with the power of the sun and use it as an example when instructing the other Project Regeneration team members.