Welcome to SEEC

Welcome to the blog for the Student Environmental Education Coalition (SEEC)! We are a North Carolina-based, grassroots, non-partisan, and entirely youth-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to cultivate a generation of environmentally literate students.

With 2016 marking the warmest year ever recorded, it is becoming increasingly necessary for widespread changes to be made. The quality of the environment and human prosperity are undoubtedly intertwined, so it is up to the current generation of young people to determine the future of our relationship with the environment and therefore our own well-being.

We are focusing on conservation education for a few months:

  • Blue Ridge Parkway: In 2013, the NC General Assembly cut land conservation funding by more than 40%. This harms the Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC), a group whose mission is to protect land like the Blue Ridge Parkway from problems such as overdevelopment and pollution. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful National Park service that attracts more than 14 million visitors per year and contributes $300 million to the local economy. However, budget cuts make it difficult for CTNC to effectively carry out its plan to preserve the expanse of Blue Ridge Parkway, therefore one of our goals will be to generate funding in order to continue protecting the endangered species and unique ecosystems within the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • SAVE THE BEES: Recently, the endangerment of bees in North Carolina has become a pressing yet underaddressed issue. Bees are crucial to our food economy; we rely on bees to pollinate 71% of our crops, including almonds, apples, strawberries, and alfalfa. The root of this problem traces back to climate change, parasites, and most importantly, the use of neonicotinoids. These insecticides affect the pollen and nectar of plants, and because they are so toxic to bees (6000 times more toxic to bees than DDT!), bees are dying off at tremendous rates. This brings us to another one of our goals: to raise awareness about what agrochemical companies are doing and to discourage users from spraying bee-killing pesticides recklessly.
  • Butterfly Highway: The Butterfly Highway is a North Carolina project that creates more natural habitats for pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies. Not only are pollinators important to our ecosystems, but they also contribute to the production of 70% of crops in our economy! With this knowledge, our Director of Service Learning has been building community butterfly gardens in and around the Chapel Hill area, working with a diverse group of youth to create sustainable pollinator gardens.

Stay tuned for more details and events!

SEEC has gone abroad!

For the last week, past Executive Director Kenneth Xu has been visiting public schools in Eastern China and talking to teachers, administrators, and government officials about the importance of environmental education. Through discussions with local educators and interactive lectures for K-12 students (conducted entirely in Mandarin), SEEC has been promoting environmental literacy on a truly global scale this summer. We look forward to continuing this journey as SEEC constantly expands, though we’ll be back in North Carolina for our NatureWay Summer Camp in August!

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A Talk from Teryn Norris: Energy Policy Expert

Distinguished policy advisor Teryn Norris will visit the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to give a talk on Thursday, March 23rd! A reception with refreshments will take place at 4:20 PM in front of the lecture hall and the talk will begin at 4:30 PM. This SEEC event is free and open to the public!

Teryn Norris grew up in Asheville, N.C. and graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in 2006. He earned a B.A. in public policy from Stanford University and received the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. He has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and his writing has appeared in journals including Harvard Law & Policy Review and Issues in Science and Technology. Norris co-founded the Millennial Action Project, a nonprofit organization that pushes for bipartisan collaboration in legislatures nationwide. In March of 2012, he was appointed to serve as a policy advisor for the former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and he contributed significantly to President Obama’s $4 billion Clean Energy Investment Initiative. Norris now serves as Special Advisor in the DOE Office of Technology Transitions and as a Director in S&P Global Platts, an energy market intelligence consultancy.

SEEC Thanks You!

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We’re excited to announce that Kenneth Xu and SEEC have been awarded the Goddard Prize for Environmental Conservancy, granting us $1,000 from the New Leaders Initiative to expand our education programs! Today we would like to thank everyone who has inspired, supported, and been involved with SEEC.

Book Drive

SEEC and Jóvenes Para Ayudar will be joining forces to co-host a book drive in Durham! We’re seeking SAT, ACT, and AP prep books (used or new), all of which will go to minority-serving educational centers like El Centro Hispano, Inc. Everyone who donates at least 2 books will be entered into a raffle for a $25 gift card to Elmo’s Diner. We look forward to both saving paper and combating educational inequities in the Triangle together!
Note: please drop off books at NCSSM’s Bryan Lobby and fill out the sheet next to the donation box by February 6th.

Colloquium Series: Jedediah Purdy, Environmental Law Expert

In January of 2017, Jedediah Purdy will visit the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to discuss environmental ethics, law, and politics! Although this talk is open to all students, registration will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. Stay on the lookout for more details on how to sign up to meet one of America’s most fascinating intellectuals!

“Jedediah Purdy is a law professor at Duke University and the author of several popular books on American culture and history. His first book, ‘For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today,’ was published in 1999, when Purdy was a 24 year old law student at Yale University, and made him something of an intellectual and political celebrity. Purdy, who is known for his earnest demeanor and unabashed concern for things that matter, described the book as ‘one young man’s letter of love for the world’s possibilities.’ Purdy’s parents were self-described hippies seeking an honest, simple, rural life when they moved from Pennsylvania to a farm in West Virginia shortly before he was born…Purdy was homeschooled until age 13, eventually making his way to Exeter and then Harvard University, before completing his law degree at Yale. A ‘wildly popular’ teacher at Duke, Purdy recently finished a book on the nature and origins of private property.”

Colloquium Series

Thank you to everyone who attended Stuart Pimm’s talk at NCSSM! Not only was the lecture hall completely filled to the brim, but we can all easily agree that it was a truly enlightening and engaging talk.

So, we’re excited to announce that many more Nicholas School of the Environment professors have arranged to visit NCSSM in the next few months to give both talks and seminars. Keep an eye out for a climate change politics seminar led by Duke professors coming up in December!

Disney Summer of Service Grant

We are happy to announce that SEEC has won a Disney Summer of Service Grant for our NatureWay Charity Summer Camp program! We’ll be partnering with Disney and Youth Service America to expand next year’s camp, with news coverage from ABC and Disney as well as significant funding from The Walt Disney Company.

In addition, applications to become a counselor for the 5th annual NatureWay Charity Summer Camp have now opened! It will likely take place during the first week of August 2017 in Chapel Hill. Counselors must be 16 to 22 years old, with experience in both environmental science and camp leadership. If qualified, please send executive@envirocoalition.org an email with an attached resume and a short essay (200-300 words) about why you would like to work with us. We’d be happy to answer any questions as well!

Stuart Pimm at NCSSM

Want to meet one of the most prominent ecologists in America? SEEC will be kicking off its colloquium series with a public talk from Duke University’s Professor Stuart Pimm, a world leader in conservation biology! Pimm will be coming to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to speak about the extinction crisis and his experiences on Wednesday, November 30th at 5 PM. More details can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/217031592054770/