Hiking at Night on the Preserve; Observing Saturn and its Rings
07/31/11 by Kathy Chaffin
Even high school students eager to take on the world's environmental problems admitted to being scared when it came to the night hikes along the pristine preserve behind the Center for the Environment on the Catawba College campus.
The night preserve hikes were held July 21 during the "Redesigning Our Future" National Environmental Summit for High School Students sponsored by the Center for the Environment in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute of Colorado.
"I was terrified to be honest with you," said Kenneth Dunn, a rising senior at Northern High School in Durham. "There were a lot of animals out there. I couldn't see them, but I heard footsteps going everywhere."
Nicole Baker of Atlanta, Ga., enjoyed the night preserve hike because the students were asked to turn off their lights to learn about night vision. Baker, a rising senior at Kennesaw Mountain High School, plans to study veterinary medicine.
Students make s'mores as they wait for their turn to see Saturn.
Students also looked at Saturn through the telescope in the Shuford Science Building observatory and other telescopes on top of the building.
Taylor Pitts of Nashville, N.C., said both activities were a lot of fun. "It was a very short hike because it was dark, and we had so many people who wanted to go," she said, "but it was definitely a lot of fun."
Being able to see Saturn through the observatory and the telescopes was also a treat. "It was actually clear enough for us to see Saturn's rings and one of its moons. That was a really big deal."
The Center for the Environment at Catawba College was founded in 1996 to provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country. For more information, visit www.centerfortheenvironment.org or www.campaignforcleanair.org.