The Climate Change Agents Camp, a scholarship-based week-long overnight camp, relies completely on the goodwill of the community.
To assist us in making this opportunity available for young people, please earmark your online contribution to "NC-CAN Climate Change Agent Camp" and click below
Contribute by writing a check to fiscal agent Full-Circle Learning, earmarked NC-CAN Climate Change Agents Camp.
Please mail your contribution to:
Nevada County Climate Action Now 108 Bridger Court Grass Valley 95945
Thank you for your support for our current and future change agents!
Click on link for a 2018 photo essay on the camp
Redefining the “Family Tree” at
Climate Change Agents Camp 2021
Kinship rolled easily off the tongues of young people at the Climate Change Agent Camp in Nevada County. presented by Nevada County Climate Action Now and Full-Circle Learning, with help from financial sponsors ranging from the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation to Earth Justice Ministries, Sierra Audubon Society, Nevada City Retreats and Forest Issues Group.
We extend our deep and abiding thanks to this year’s dedicated presenters, field trip chaperones, camp medical personnel, drivers, picnic and farmers’ market attendees and financial contributors. Indeed, climate change has shown what an essential role we each play in the village. Many of you have been here from the start. Equally valued are those who bring fresh experience and perspective to the lives of young Change Agents.
Every year since 2014, youth attending the Climate Change Agents Camp have sunk deeply into acts of learning and that link a thematic life skill to a corresponding relevant issue. The first year, they researched the local “climate change impact report card” of species with the local ecosystem, to encourage needed protections. In subsequent years, they used Drawdown concepts to evaluate and share local best practices in responses to food security and agriculture, water conservation and drought, wildfire and forest management, energy policies and economic equity and global climate justice. This year, the stakes rose higher than ever, as their both local and global service opportunities and emerging research challenged them to deepen their connections locally and across the globe, to solidify the importance of continually teaching one another.
Teens aged 12 to 18 nestled into a circle, knee touching knee, on opening day. A week in the life at the Climate Change Agents Camp began as each one introduced themselves to the next as a member of the human family and the family of living things. They soon discussed their more specific “genus” as Change Agents and further, their “species” as members of smaller groups, such as Humanitarians, Advocates or Guardians, for the purposes of the camp. As groups, they would serve together in the kitchen and on research field. They would also watch for signs of individuals each day who would earn the privilege of extra service to the family group.
The next activity, a blindfolded taste test of locally grown foods, helped them compare their unique talents and tastes with those of the Western hummingbird and two other species now struggling to share those food sources and local nesting cavities with bird refugees from distant regions.
Building conceptual and artistic treehouses helped the Change Agents define their own collaborative code of ethics to as they address the needs of current and future climate refugees, based on a sense of universal kinship. They would soon apply those skills to construct life-size examples of some of the treehouse elements.
In fact, the Change Agents would engage in a number of challenges before the week ended, to explore the integrated impacts of climate change on flora, fauna and humans, and also the models nature presents for adapting to those impacts through symbiotic interactions that extend concern for life beyond close kin to others who stand to benefit from our efforts. For example, the salmon DNA feed the health of riparian trees, and the dying old-growth trees in a forest, which cannot withstand rising temperatures and so bequeath their last dose of carbon and nitrogen on more drought-worthy neighbors in the forest.
Inspired by such hopeful research, the Change Agents considered the legacies they could make in their own community to forestall or adapt to the negative impacts of climate change. After a week of service, they shared these ideas with their Change Agent peers in developing nations to advance the global effort to quell climate impacts and injustices. By the end of the week, working in small groups and as a whole, they prepared video exchanges for these youth. They and also taught the broader community at their own local farmers’ market. By weeks’ end, they served elders and food insecure communities, honored the legacies of an environmentalist, and honored the lessons learned from global exchange partners, adding complementary layers of wisdom such as these:
Climate Refugee Projects
The family of Baelen Carson, a Change Agent whose Hawaiian grandfather experienced of displacement due to rising water levels, studied the science of rising tides. Baelen and her mother shared the story and the science of climate refugees in the US.
Comparing these conditions with the incidents of recent flooding among African partners and families suffering from California wildfires, the Change Agents projected the skills they could need someday to build a refugee camp for displaced peoples.
They went to Sol Learning Institute, where they practiced hands-on skills to build primary and secondary water catchment systems, onsite waste disposal, methane fuel sources, and huts whose renewable materials would consist of various combinations of clay, straw, sand and water.
The teams later depicted replicas of these processes in a treehouse diorama made of recycled materials; they displayed the replica at the Farmers’ Market. They demonstrated how to reach out in a spirit of kinship to others on the family tree in a potential time of need.
Liberian students’ renewable energy and data collecting brought solar power to elders’ living in unelectrified homes. Inspired by this challenge, the Change Agents experimented to successfully create their own do-it-yourself solar panel, to demonstrate how to generate electricity with limited supplies. Teacher Lily Ning guided them through the exercise.
They also determined how to design a hybrid solar-hydro power station, comparing a student-made system (by Paxx) with a larger-scaled design currently used in Zambia. They created a prototype to teach the public.
Food Security Projects
Inspired by a range of projects in which African students fed communities during the pandemic through sustainable farms and newly designed crab pots, the Change Agents added a new idea. They became experts on hybrid hydro- and aeroponic systems that use little land and water during a drought.
With the help of advocate Lori Trowbridge, they introduced the features of the drought- and deer-resistant tower garden to the public and to their wisdom exchange partners in a video.
They experimented with celery to measure the effects of rising heat on root systems, suggesting the advantages of controlling the temperature of water in a hydroponic system versus the struggle to cool the heat and dryness of roots underground as temperatures climb.
They also learned about native plants from Malaika Bishop and volunteered their help in the garden at Woolman Sierra Center, to experience the hard work their global partners pursue every day to ensure food security for a broader community.
Health Disparities Projects
Wisdom exchange partners in three countries had interviewed health care providers at their local hospitals to learn about climate-change related diseases, carrying prevention messages and services to schools and homes. One school reached 20,000 people in neighboring towns.
The Change Agents responded by studying their own most relevant local climate-related health issue: respiratory health, on the rise due to wildfire and pollution. Dr. Chris Newsom taught methods for checking air quality. They shared these suggestions with the public at the farmers market and in a video for their wisdom exchange partners.
Students in Africa gathered from multiple schools to advocate for the concept of “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future.” Younger students in diverse countries also cleared oceans and towns of plastic.
At the Nevada County camp, the Change Agents researched the circular economy and heard plastics presentations from advocates Shirley Freriks and Briar Patch’s Lauren Scott.
At the Briar Patch co-op, they observed the struggles of a small store to recycle. They offered a recycling box for the staff room. There, they participated in the “Plastics-Free July” campaign, shopping for and cooking dinner without using any products packaged in plastics. Letters would also be written to local stores about the plastics issue.
A poignant and multi-leveled acts occurred that day. The learners prepared a bench made of plastic milk jugs as a memorial bench for a departed NC-CAN member Peggy Baldwin. Each person sketched a bird to attach to the bench. They brought the designs to the Curious Forge, where the birds were etched into a plaque, along with Peggy’s name, for she had spent many years feeding birds of all species with equal compassion (a legacy and a symbol of equity). At her new memorial garden, her widower Don and Malaika Bishop unveiled the bench where all their birds were perched and waiting, with the students looking on. Maggie McKaig and Luke Wilson christened the event with songs about lives spent giving to others.
During their nightly discussion at the talking tree, the Change Agents spoke of legacies they can give through everyday acts of kindness and kinship, as well as history-making acts, inspired by the music they had heard that day and the moment when they celebrated the life of a giver in that garden of dogwoods where 35 bird species will someday thrive.