By Mackay Pierce, Rachel Carson Council Campus Coordinator
Over the course of last week, I took a road trip from Washington to visit some of our Rachel Carson Council Campus Network schools in Central North Carolina.
As an Appalachian, the mountains of Western North Carolina are the most familiar part of the state’s geography. Yet, over the course of the week, I was able to discover some of the natural wonders of Central North Carolina through many of the universities housed there. From the 180-acre, protected Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve at Catawba College, the McIver amphitheater nestled among a lake at Meredith College, to the sprawling gardens on Duke’s campus; this part of the state boasts many incredible natural features and institutions.
Catawba Center for the Environment
Over the course of my visit, I stayed with a friend from college who lives on his family’s homestead in Alamance County. Returning to the farm, where I have stayed before, offered a sense of refuge and recovery from the city life I have adjusted to in Washington. From the song birds in the morning, to the deep bays of the Great Pyrenees late at night, it all provides a poignant reminder for so much of the work that we do.
Young people are at the front of this movement. Whether it is the organizers from the Sunrise Movement pressuring politicians on the Green New Deal or children bringing lawsuits against the government to protect their futures; the youth have recognized their role in ensuring a more sustainable future.
Starting in the fall, RCC is launching a fellowship program for students who have a passion for environmental organizing. Starting a divestment campaign on your campus? Opposing a pipeline in your community? RCC wants to work with you. Fellows will serve over the course of academic year 2019 and 2020 as they execute their projects. Fellows will receive training and mentorship from RCC staff as well as a $2,000 stipend distributed throughout the year.
College students are a source of eternal hope and energy. If we want to get serious about combating climate change, we will need young people across the country working together for a better future. And, if I’ve learned anything from my conversations on campus, they are ready to work.