Earth Day 2022 – Ways Camp Wekeela is working toward a more sustainable environment:
Each year, Earth Day is a reminder of the common good that we all can do to protect our environment. Sustainability and environmentalism will not only have initial, but lasting impacts on each of us for generations. At Wekeela, we believe that we all must do our part to make the world a cleaner, better place to live. We feel fortunate to operate in the Pine Tree State of Maine, who has made strides to become a more green and energy independent place.
We all know there is more work to be done, but below you will see a list of the ways that Camp Wekeela works to make our community a better place.
- Community Solar: Did you know that, “Maine has set a renewable energy generation target of: 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 In 2019, the state of Maine expanded its Net Energy Billing program. This program allows utility customers to offset their electricity costs with energy produced by off site renewable energy projects. Thus, the customer can choose to support renewable energy instead of other energy sources selected by the utility. The expansion of Net Energy Billing legislation was designed to incentivize the development of in-state renewable energy projects like Community Solar farms, thus driving Maine toward its goals.” We are excited to announce our partnership with Ampion and joining in the Maine Community Solar program. This brand new program for Summer 2022 will begin to convert all energy consumption used at Wekeela to Solar Powered farms. Community Solar exists to foster a clean energy transition for Maine and its residents. Our local solar farms are part of state and utility-backed renewable energy programs, with incentives to accelerate growth and strong regulations to protect the land and Mainers like you. Your Ampion membership also energizes the local economy by powering future solar farm development and job growth. Talk about a win-win. We are excited to support a more sustainable Wekeela mission and help the Maine community at the same time! You can read more about the Ampion program here: Maine Community Solar Packet
- Local Fruits & Veggies: for the past 3 summers, Wekelea has partnered with our friends at Blackie’s Farm of Lewiston to locally source all fruits and vegetables, reducing the reliance on Big Farming and working with our community to provide healthier options for our campers.
- Solar Vents & New Roofs: New for 2022, two of the biggest buildings at Wekeela, Performing Arts & The Lodge, are getting renovated, brand new roofs. These new roofs are installed with 16 solar powered vents and fans to remove heat and cool the buildings during the summertime. Our goal moving forward is to make each building at camp as sustainable as possible.
- New Culinary Arts Program: The brand new culinary arts will utilize our organize garden featuring Wekeela grown fruits and veggies to create healthy dishes and help campers discover a passion for growing food themselves.
- Paper-waste: In 2017, We made all forms and waivers for campers and staff digital, reducing the need for paper-waste prior to camp. In addition, our office staff collects and re-uses all paper and cardboard during the summer from packages and Bunk Notes for kindling and firestarter in our Outdoor Adventure programming. By collecting, shredding, and burning, we are eliminating the waste created by paper.
- Planting Trees for Good: Did you know that the best carbon-capturing technology is actually the simplest? Trees and plants convert Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the air for fuel, each summer, Ephram works with campers to plant trees around camp. Wekeela also has a partnership with our Yearbook provider, TreeRing and Trees to Remember to plant hundreds of trees each fall.
- Recycling: Wekeela continues to partner with our Maine-based friends at Clynk Recycling to recycle plastic bottles & cans and re-invest the money for camp scholarships and programs. Luckily, Wekeela does not sell or use much plastic waste during the summer anyway.
- Sugarcane Paper Goods: All paper goods used during meals are made out of compostable Sugarcane, which is biodegradable. Since 2019 Wekeela has followed the state of Maine’s lead to ban Styrofoam products – we provide reusable and sustainable mugs to each staff member.
- Focusing on activities to do good: Lastly, many of our program areas have committed to being more sustainable. For example, in Creative Arts, using recycled boxes, milk cartons are great for creating bird houses/feeders and Bee Houses made from natural materials, twigs, recycled cardboard and wood. These activities sparked creativity, reduced waste, and helped give our bird and bee friends some new homes!
We recognize that there is more work to be done, that is why in the next few years, Wekeela has a goal of 100% sustainable energy – including turning to electric powered vans, golf carts, installing solar panels with a goal to turn to 100% solar energy.
However, protecting the planet is not about performative gestures. As an individual, the best way to bring your environmental impact down is to just do less – buy less; drive less; eat meat less; travel less; use less. This Earth Day, we implore our camp community to make goals focusing on sustainability through small or grand gestures. Take a look at our 10 R’s (beyond the widely recognized Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and focus on waste reduction as a whole.