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Nature, Community, and Energy – Why I wanted to join the FDCE Program

In our first week of orientation of the Financing and Deploying Clean Energy program, Yale lecturer Peter Boyd posed the seemingly simple question “Why are you here?” This got me to thinking, what had gotten me to this program, to this place?

As a lifelong city kid, I grew up knowing only a few green places - my Mom’s garden and my local nature preserve, the North Park Village Nature Center. The Nature Center has been my community and sanctuary for over half my life. I started as a junior camp counselor, eventually working my way up to lead my own beekeeping classes for high schoolers. When my Dad passed away, I sought refuge with the bees and beekeepers there. Nature and my community were there for me when I needed them the most.

I know firsthand that when nature and community work in unison, they create space for others to grow and thrive. The most rewarding moment in my time at the Nature Center is seeing the amazement on faces of lifelong city kids as they search for tadpoles in the wetlands -first with apprehension, then with excitement - discovering the wiggling tails just below the surface. I love listening to their voices hush and seeing their movements slow when they spot a family of deer just off the trail. They marvel at the whole new world just a few blocks from their home.

When I watch them, I think of my own hours spent laying across the bridge of the wetlands, amazed by the ease with which the water bugs strode across the still water. There was brilliance in the way their tiny leg hairs repelled water and captured the air, giving them their glide. I remember the first time I installed a honeybee hive – first with apprehension, then excitement.

The swarm of bees surrounded me, and I listened to the low hum as they made a box of frames their new home. With any luck, they would build a whole new world of honey and comb in what were now empty frames.

It is in these moments in nature that we are given the opportunity to discover and play in community with each other and with the world around us. Cleaning up our energy system means preserving moments like these for future generations.

I understand that the power of knowledge comes only when you teach entire communities, not simply individuals. But this is knowledge that we can receive only when we meet the water bugs and bees where they are, when we take care of our shared home.

I am here because I know that we need community if we are going to face the global climate emergency. I am here because I want others to experience the exhilaration of discovering tadpoles, the calm of watching water bugs glide across the water, and the sense of possibility brought about by a swarm of bees.

What are your reasons for joining the FDCE program?

Learn more about the Financing and Deploying Clean Energy certificate program and see if it's right for you!  Apply by March 13, 2022.

Photo credit: North Park Village Nature Center Park