All ages explore stewardship of the earth at Eco-Camp in Wisconsin

July 27, 2018
All ages explore stewardship of the earth at Eco-Camp in Wisconsin

These youngsters engage in a healthy food game at Eco-Camp in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Mike Paik

Ah, a weekend in the Wisconsin countryside.

A chance, through fun and educational activities, for more than 70 people of all ages to grow in awareness of their roles as guardians of the earth and its resources.

All thanks to Eco-Camp, held May 19–20 at a home in East Troy and sponsored by the Baha’i communities of East Troy, Delafield Township and Waukesha Township. The camp was an outgrowth of Baha’is’ participation in a community-based environmental coalition called the Green Team.

“Stewardship is a fundamental God-given responsibility,” says Mike Paik of Delafield, who helped organize the camp.

“It is a bounty to develop these virtues collectively in a breathtakingly beautiful environment where elevated conversations and fellowship are mindfully nurtured.”

What emerged from the communities’ fourth camp was a set of “simple acts” participants committed to undertake in their daily lives, including:

  • Unplugging countertop appliances and electronics when not in use.
  • Enjoying meatless Mondays to conserve water.
  • Eating locally grown foods that take less energy to get to our plate.
  • Composting to avoid sending compostable foods to the landfill.
  • Taking reusable bottles with us instead of using bottled water.
  • Not using plastic straws or disposable plastic bags.
  • Buying food in bulk, instead of individually wrapped, whenever we can.
  • Shopping at our local resale shops to reduce our water footprint.
Preparing healthy meals was a joyous tasks for Eco-Camp volunteers. Photo courtesy of Mike Paik

Over the course of the weekend, young and old enjoyed a diversity of activities designed to stimulate reflection on what it means to be “eco” and to live sustainably.

A registered dietitian planned and prepared delicious plant-based meals.

A visitor brought his high-powered telescope so participants could view the moon and Jupiter.

An eco-obstacle course helped campers learn about challenges to the earth.

Displays from the Green Team of Waukesha County encouraged the identification of “one simple act” that they could mindfully practice to help our planet.

A child-centered demonstration of tai chi and qigong movements and concepts engaged all ages.

A retired schoolteacher used hands-on activities to spark learning about organic gardening and healthy, communal eating.

Campers also enjoyed ATV cart rides, a hayride, nature hikes, scavenger hunts, and making crafts and tie-dyed eco-shirts. Oh, and there was a bonfire with s’mores.

In short, says Paik, Eco-Camp was “a sacred social space for children, junior youth, older youth and adults to gain a sense of community and collective endeavor.”

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