Sunday, May 1, 2011


The PEAK (P romoting E nvironmental A wareness in K ids) program is the result of a unique partnership between REI (Recreation Equipment, Inc.) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. PEAK is based on the seven principles of Leave No Trace and is designed to educate children about the outdoors and responsible use of our shared public lands.
The program is available for kids of all ages and involves a plethera of activities for children. A short list of activites includes...
Discovering the Leave No Trace Principles - An introduction to the principles through demonstration of preparing for an outdoor trip; works great as a skit.

How Long Does it Last? - Find how long it really takes for common trash/recyclable to break down in nature and why it's important to Trash our Trash.

Watch Your Step - There are living organisms everything. Explore your world from an ant's level and find out why it's important to stick to trails.

Leave No Trace Draw - Many Leave No Trace decisions can be made along the trail. A version of a relay race, participants will decide whether they advance on the trail by answering Leave No Trace related quetions.

Step on It! - Why is it important to stick to trails? How do we know how to do this? Compete with your team to answer questions and learn how to Choose the Right Path when outdoors.

What Principle Am I? - Test your knowledge of the Leave No Trace principles by listening to clues and deciding What Principle Am I?

Leave No Trace Crime Scene - Have your youth become CSI investigators as they stumble upon a campsite leave no trace "crime scene."

Minimum Impact Match - Find out what different gear items will help you Leave No Trace when you are outdoors. Ask Yes/No questions to find out what gear you represent, then find your match!

Treks and Track's Great Adventure - Meet all the PEAK characters and the principles they represent as Trek and Track (a pair of boots) head out on an outdoor adventure.

Leave No Trace Relay - Set up a Leave No Trace obstacle course for your students, with stops and activities representing each Leave No Trace principle.

The program is based on 7 principles of Leave No Trace. Know Before You Go, Choose The Right Path, Trash Your Trash, Leave What You Find, Be Careful With Fire, Respect Wildlife, Be Kind To Other Visitors

The Solar Decathlon

The solar decathlon is a fun competition that is a great example for new ideas in sustainable solutions. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The event takes place every two years in Washington D.C..
When looking into this I found an amazing house, that has a great design and creative ideas. The House is called "The Watershed" and was designed by students at the University of Maryland. The house has two different sides and two seperate roofs. One roof is layered with solar panels to power the house with electricity. The other roof is topped with a butterfly garden, this is installed to collect rain water for everyday use. The house is projected to be able to sustain itself with electricity and water year round.
You may ask yourself, but there isn't enough rainwater to sustain it, and if so it may be acid rain. This is (to me) the coolest part of the house. The house is based on the ecosystem of Chesapeake Bay. Natural ecosystems have evolved over millions of years to sustainably harness energy, produce food, and recycle waste. Not to mention the house has a stream running through it!!!!
The house has a plethora of other features as well. Constructed wetlands, filtering stormwater and greywater for reuse.A green roof, retaining stormwater and minimizing the heat island effect. An optimally-sized photovoltaic array, harvesting enough energy from the sun to power WaterShed year round. Edible landscapes, supporting community-based agriculture. A liquid desiccant waterfall, providing high-efficiency humidity control in the form of an indoor water feature. A solar thermal array, supplying enough energy to provide all domestic hot-water, desiccant regeneration and supplemental space heating. Engineering systems, working in harmony, each acting to increase the effectiveness of the others. A time-tested structural system that is efficient, cost-effective and durable.

Here is a video of a digital walkthrough of the house.