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 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:

Paul Ehrlich: Ideas, Impressions, Impacts

Picture provided by the Nicholas School of the Environment
Post written by Kenneth Xu 

On October 18th, 2016, we attended renowned biologist Paul R. Ehrlich’s talk on “Surviving the Sixth Mass Extinction” at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. At 84 years old, an age that he humorously emphasized, Professor Ehrlich serves as the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University and President of Stanford’s Center for Conservation Biology. In 1968, he published the controversial yet best-selling book The Population Bomb, which launched him to fame and paved the way for a career full of prestigious awards for leadership in biology and environmental research. He is both venerated and criticized for his unwavering devotion to his predictions of the Earth’s future.

We immediately noticed Dr. Ehrlich’s amusing personality and youthful vigor. He spoke passionately about not only overpopulation, but also more broadly about how to convince the general public and government to take action on environmental issues. He emphasized the importance of psychology, economics, and public policy in the environment movement, which piqued our interest in the role of social sciences in environmental action. The questions that he raised were similar to ones that SEEC had previously been wondering about: How can public opinion of environmental problems be changed? How do citizens convince politicians to represent their wishes? How can environmental education be implemented effectively?

SEEC serves as a direct response to these questions. At a time when environmental education is left in the hands of non-governmental organizations and grassroots nonprofits such as our own, we believe that the very existence of SEEC and the necessity of its mission reflects on the federal government. Given that even serious environmental problems are hotly debated, it’s unsurprising that the U.S. government largely ignores environmental education. Because sustainability is erroneously considered partisan by many Americans, which Paul Ehrlich constantly reminds us, political barriers are obstacles that SEEC has to deal with on a daily basis. How do we convey to parents that we are not only educating their kids on important issues but also giving them a jumpstart on their STEM education and transforming them into future leaders? We only have an inkling of an idea, though you can bet that we’re trying our best to inspire other young people and bring about tangible change. As Paul Ehrlich leaves the spotlight, SEEC is working hard to take his place.

Environmental Politics

As everyone watches the first presidential debates of 2016, we would just like to remind people that the concept of global warming was NOT created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. When voting, please keep each candidate’s prospective environmental policies in mind!

In addition, we apologize for the temporary disruption to our official website. It will return as soon as we finish maintenance!

NatureWay 2016

We are happy to say that NatureWay 2016 was ultimately a huge success! Each day of the week was filled with unique lessons about various aspects of the environment, along with many hands-on activities. For example, when teaching the kids about zoology, counselors used plaster to model what ancient fossils would have looked like, helping to explain how fossils are created. Other activities included creating a vinegar/baking soda volcano, planting flowers in plastic water bottles, constructing a compost bin, and even tie-dying shirts just for fun. However, the camp was more than just an educational experience for the kids — the counselors learned quite a few things as well. Not only did we learn how to keep children engaged, but we discovered how to create our own lessons in ways that would spark inspiration for learning more about the natural world, as well as a lifelong interest in STEM. Overall, NatureWay was a truly amazing experience for everyone involved, and we thank everyone who participated in the camp and helped make it so rewarding.

Click here for more exclusive pictures of the NatureWay Charity Summer Camp

NatureWay Registration

Know any kids (ages 6-10) in central North Carolina who like nature? Registration is open for NatureWay, a free STEM-focused summer camp led by SEEC. It will be held from August 8-12 (9 AM-5 PM) at East Chapel Hill High School. We are happy to have found a talented batch of counselors from many different schools, with everyone having expertise in environmental topics like Earth science, aquatic ecology, conservation biology, and more! NatureWay’s counselors are winners of the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge, Governor’s School attendees, SEEC Executive Board members, etc. If interested, contact for more information!