by Jean Ponzi

Camp EarthWays 2012

Design Your Green Dream Home


Calling all cool planet kids! If you are ages 10-13 and a friend of Earth, this week of creating camping adventure has lots to offer you!

At Camp EarthWays – Young Green Builders you’ll explore the elements of sustainable design – as you design your own fantasy home. Base camp is at Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Education Center, 4651 Shaw Boulevard, at Kingshighway.

The week for new campers is July 16 -20. Campers returning from last year, or continuing from our Week 1 can register for July 23 – 27.

What can you expect from your week at Camp EarthWays? Here’s some of what we’ve explored – with campers’ notes from our group journal.

Sustainable landscapes, refreshing and tasty!

We’ve visited an urban farm and community gardens, and splashed in the fountains of downtown’s amazing CityGarden. “Truck Farmer” Brian DeSmet showed last summer’s campers how he was taking his gardening on the road – in the back of his red pickup!

We learned what plants were growing in the truck farm, how to prepare the truck for planting, and where the food goes once it’s grown.

Field trips – and meeting sustainability experts

We hop on public transportation to inspect inspiring buildings and outdoor Green spaces around St. Louis. Some of our campers are riding a Metro bus for the first time! And we meet with Green professionals who are happy to share their passion and knowledge about architecture, renewable energy, sustainable neighborhoods – and more.

Riding the bus was really fun. I liked that it was air-conditioned.

One feature we saw in the Cupples House that I will incorporate into my design is a complete circle dome ceiling in my studio.

We saw the compost piles at the Garden, and that inspired me to compost more.

Steve taught us about solar energy, where solar power is the most bountiful in the world, and how many panels it would take to power my home.

Reused, renewable, recycled: designing with Green materials

Start with creating a personal journal, then go on to build sustainable textures, colors and strengths into your Green Dream House design. Learn how Green materials make a home healthier too. How will these planet-protecting materials spark your creativity?

The Wash U Materials Library was awesome, full of stuff that is eco friendly.

I think recycling building materials and reusing buildings is important because there are only so many materials and new buildings or materials are expensive and can waste energy. Old materials can be beautiful and much cheaper!

If this preview of Camp EarthWays calls to the Young Green Builder in you – or to that special kid in your family – mark the week in Green on your calendar and register today! Parents and friends will be invited to a Green Dream Home Showcase on our last camp day, featuring a slide show of all our adventures.

Support from the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District helps us keep Camp EarthWays fees affordable: $170 per child for members of Missouri Botanical Garden, $185 for non-members – per weekly session.

To register, please visit www.mobot.org/classes. See a slide show of Camp EarthWays 2011 at www.mobot.org/sustainability.Jean Ponzi is the Green Resources Manager for Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center.