I kicked off my summer with a whirlwind roadtrip down the West Coast with my younger sister (who you may remember from this blog post) and our friend Dawn. It was a beautiful experience! Like true tourists, we were all snapping away photos the whole time. Today I’m highlighting some shots of water, water pollution, and conservation. If you want to learn more about protecting water, please visit our StormwaterPA project.
In our films, we highlight people who are doing great things for their environment and communities. So it is thrilling to hear from someone who was featured in a video we did years and years ago!
As a 7th-grade student, Heather Zanoni’s class was featured in one our documentaries called “The Environmental Classroom.” This film followed the Monagacci program, which encouraged using the outdoors as a classroom. “I think one of the major underlying themes of Monagacci was an idea of taking care of and understanding the environment around you,” Heather states. “There wasn’t a big lecture on ‘sustainability’ … I think the idea was more about using our local outdoors as a tool for instruction and practice based learning, which I think both teachers hoped would inspire students beyond the 7th grade…”
Scenes from our Environmental Classroom documentary
Heather immediately was inspired by this “life changing educational experience”. Leading a hike for second graders at a summer camp the following summer, Heather was able to identify for the young hikers the types of wildlife and plants they were seeing. This passion continued throughout her academic career. As a graduate student going for her Masters in Environmental Policy at The New School, Heather participated in the Solar Decathlon down in Washington, D.C. (and, yes, we did feature this energy competition in a documentary series over on our environmental education program site – EcoExpress.org). This collaborative, multi-year project (see Empowerhouse for more information) resulted in an affordable housing duplex, which is also inexpensive to live in. The house consumes about 90% less energy for heating and cooling than most homes, but it also substantially cheaper than many other green homes, costing about $250,000 to build.
Photo of Empowerhouse by Martin Seck
Now Heather works as an associate at The Stone House Group, energy efficiency consulting firm in Bethlehem, PA. It’s wonderful to see how all of these meaningful, educational experiences can lead to a life path of caring for the environment.