iWitness March 2010: Food, Water and Housing

Publication Date: 
March 24, 2010
These three basic necessities have been the recent focus of Woolman Semester classes...
The Woolman iWitness.
News and Inspiration from Woolman
March 2010
Upcoming Events
  • Local Foods Potluck: May 8
  • Global Issues Presentations: May 19
  • Documentary Screening: May 21
  • Sustainability Tour: May 24
  • Baccalaureate: May 28
  • Graduation: May 29
And Announcing...
The Woolman Summer Intensive: A week-long workshop for adults
Sustaining Earth, Sustaining Community. June 20-25
Use Your Voice: Apply to Woolman
Upcoming Deadline: April 1st
This an invitation for all passionate young people ages 16-19 to apply to the Woolman Semester. If you are looking for a community, an empowering education, or a place to be heard: Come live in the Sierra Foothills for 16 weeks and experience an education that is student-centered, experiential, relevant, progressive, and interdisciplinary.

Woolman Outreach To...
New York City: April 5th-18th
Philadelphia: April 6th-17th
Growing Food, Building Homes
Students did one of two service trips last week. One group worked alongside new homeowners at Self-Help Housing in Visalia...






The other group went to Sacramento to help grow food at Soilborn Farms, and distribute it at the Sacramento Food Bank.









Food, Water & Housing For All
      These three basic necessities have been the recent focus of Woolman Semester classes. Environmental Science has been diving in to the issue of water rights: who gets to drink it, and who gets to control it. Their unit culminated in a mock court-hearing about the use of our local watershed, the Yuba River.
      Food and housing were the themes of our two service trips: one group of students traveled to Visalia, where they worked alongside soon-to-be homeowners with Self-Help, an organization that helps people in need build their own homes. The other group worked in Sacramento with Soilborn Farm to grow fresh organic produce for inner-city residents. They also helped Harvest Sacramemnto to glean fruit that would otherwise go to waste from backyard fruit trees. They then spent a day at the Sacramento Food Bank, distributing the food they had helped gather.
KatherineFeeding Community
by Katherine Stone, Student
      I am standing in the bitter cold, chilling wind, and pounding rain. I have never before been surrounded by boxes of food and felt so thoroughly miserable. There are 40 plus people here waiting to get their share of weekly food in this terrible weather. One by one, different personalities come up to me, not being judgmental of who I am or the past I have lived. They are just happy for me to be there, greeting them with fruits and vegetables from weeks past. A feeling of selfishness began seeping through my limbs, leaving me with an emotion that I have yet to truly understand, but the miserable feeling I had is far behind me. Nothing is as important to me now as the faces of pure gratitude now present before me.
      Working with Soil Born Farms and the food banks of Sacramento have filled my soggy and wet clothes with a warmth and comfort I have never felt before. Looking back on that Tuesday brings a smile upon my face thinking about what I gave to those people and more important, what they gave to me. A simple "thank you" does not even come close to the appreciation I now have towards the hardworking individuals that deserve much more recognition for what they bring to a community.
Learning to Love Service
by Ruthie Hawley, Student
      Having never done any real community service before, I didn't really know what to expect this week in Visalia. I knew it would be tough work, but I was unaware how much the service would really move me. Before this week, service had seemed like a chore, just another thing I needed to check off on my college application. Boy was I wrong.
      I saw this week not only how important it is to give your time and help others, but also how gratifying, joyous, and refreshing the process can be. I am so proud of all the work our group did. We caulked, sawed, and conquered fears of power tools. In 5 days we sided 6 houses. It makes me feel good to know that because of the work we did the families will be able to move into their houses even a little bit sooner. I know I will be forever grateful of not only the journey to Visalia, but to the journey that brought me to a better understanding of who I am, what brings me joy, and that I am capable of things I had never previously imagined. Service is a way to help others overcome hardships, and find a place to establish roots, family, and a sense of belonging. Service brings people home.
Gearing Up for Another Outrageous Summer
by Casey, Co-Director
There are not many people who get to dress up like a super hero, lay on a sun-warmed river rock, hike through beautiful dappled sunlight and run around on a field trying to steal milk jugs from another team as part of their regular work week. I feel truly blessed to be one of the directors of Sierra Friends Camp, where surprises and shenanigans are part of the routine. If you know someone between the ages of 9 and 14 who could use a dose of campy fun this summer, please pass along this idea: Sierra Friends Camp.
YubaTo Dam or Not to Dam
Introduction by Jasmine Smith, Environmental Science Teacher
Water is one of the defining crises of the 21st century. In Environmental Science class we culminated our water unit with a mock court hearing. Students were assigned roles representing the stakeholders that would be involved if a hydroelectric dam were proposed on the South Yuba River, a wild & scenic river within walking distance of our campus.
Dam That River! by Katherine Stone, Student
I am here today representing Pacific Gas and Electric Company. We feel that Nevada County could greatly benefit from the installation of a hydroelectric dam on the South Yuba River. This project will comply with all environmental regulations. To protect wildlife resources, fish ladders will be installed to accommodate migrating fish such as trout and salmon. We ask you to approve PG&E's proposal for a licensed dam, to provide clean, renewable energy for Nevada County, and to demonstrate that the state of California can develop and support an advanced hydropower system.
Save Our River! by Ruthie Hawley, Student
For the last 150 years humans have manipulated the South Yuba River without relent. The earth, water and life in this blue-green river basin have been blown-up, washed away, and dammed. We at SYRCL oppose the building of a dam along the South Yuba River because it would be detrimental to fish populations, catastrophic to Native American peoples, and would violate guidelines set by the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. A dam would cause water quality to suffer and the river to change shape. We have seen it happen time and again. Please do not rob the Yuba and undo the work our organization has done to restore habitat destroyed by dams. Think like a salmon, do not build this dam.
RicoAlumni Corner
      Rico Chenyek, Woolman Semester Spring 2006, recently wrote to let us know that he is doing his study-abroad semester at Managua University in Nicaragua. Rico is continuing there with the kind of coursework he had here at Woolman with courses in Managua's social revolution history and political thought.
      Revolutionary thinking is nothing new to Rico who has also taken part in creating a video about war tax resistance. In his free time, Rico enjoys taking part in a Latin dance troupe. You can read the full story on Rico including a video about his life at Pomona College.
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