Erin Blalock Models Environmental Stewardship

05/03/10 by Staff Writer

Erin Blalock with Girl Scouts
Erin Blalock teaches Girl Scouts about nature

Actually, it was appropriate. The morning Catawba College senior Erin Blalock was to receive the 2010 Environmental Stewardship award, she was teaching high school students about composting and recycling. She was doing the very thing for which she was honored: inspiring others to be good stewards of the environment.

This highly responsible, creative environmental education major speaks glowingly of the positive influence the Center for the Environment and Center Executive Director John Wear have had on her life. Professors and staff affiliated with the Center have been instrumental in guiding her along the path she has chosen: to teach in high school or an environmental education center so she can pass along her love of nature.

“The Center has strengthened my dedication to the environment,” she says. It has also given her, in her words, “valuable experience with a non-profit organization.”

Blalock’s association with the Center for the Environment goes “way back,” she says, to when she was 10 years old. Her fourth-grade class came to the Robertson College-Community Center to watch a production of “The Wizard of Oz.” That’s when she saw the Center for the Environment building nestled in the trees nearby. It piqued her curiosity, and years later, in high school, she was able to visit the facility on a fieldtrip. Competing later in an Envirothon at the Center and meeting Wear sealed her desire to attend Catawba and major in the Environmental Program.

Blalock has served as a work-study student for three years at the Center, working with educational outreach and the orchestration of events. She was in charge of the scavenger hunt April 16 that sent Girl Scouts scurrying around the Center in search of items made of recycled materials and the Girl Scout bug scavenger hunt the year before. In addition, she helped two years with the Catawba Conservation Camp, a residential science camp for rising sixth- and seventh-grade girls.

Her work with ECO (Environmental Catawba Outreach) has allowed her to promote the recycling message in fun ways. This student leader spearheaded Earth Week at the college and initiated a Recycled Material Fashion Show in 2009. She created the winner’s trophy from recycled cans and her first fashion – a bridal gown -- out of newspapers and plastic bags. Dressing as Glenda, the good witch from “The Wizard of Oz,” during the 2010 Recycled Material Fashion Show, she made her outfit from bubble wrap and pink packing peanuts.

Actually, that seems appropriate, too, since her first experience of Catawba as a 10-year-old involved a class trip to the campus to see none other than “The Wizard of Oz.”

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