Benzie: Conserve, Inspire, Adapt (BCIA)
Benzie Central High School proposed their own environmental school group in 2014. Its primary objectives is to promote community awareness of environmental issues, to engage in conservation related community service, to educate students about environmental issues and their solutions, and to convert the school to a more environmentally friendly system. The meetings are student run and presided over by an adult adviser from the Benzie Conservation District. The group has grown from three initial members to over a dozen students in 2016. They meet weekly during the school year, hold fundraisers, go on field trips, plant trees and a "hugelkulture" garden, and plan for solar, recycling and other environmentally friendly projects!
Grand Prize Winner!
BCIA president and founder, Seamus Callaghan, won the statewide grand prize for the Youth Green Challenge, with his poem, "The Slow Kingdom."
The Slow Kingdom
What would happen if trees were in charge?
Who ever said they’re not?
Trees are wonderfully busy creatures
In their own sweet time.
They have a planet to run.
They’ve been here long before us,
They’ll be here long after we’re gone.
They do their work on time scales
Beyond typical human perception,
They understand that rushing a thing
Is frivolous, stressful, and silly.
Even when they decide
That action is urgent,
It may be years before we take notice.
They’re busy with the business of telling each other
When and where they should grow.
They’re busy with the business of enriching
The water, the soil, and the air.
They’re busy with the business of producing aerosols
To keep their animal subjects
Contagion and cancer free.
They’re busy with the business of cleaning the mess
Left by fleeting, whirlwind
They’re busy keeping the atmosphere stable
Not too rich, and not too hot.
They’re busy soaking up our poisons
Metals, toxins, and radiation.
They’re busy crumbling, breaking down
The offensive monoliths of infrastructure
Scars upon the landscape
To any but our own eyes.
The trees have help from mycelial friends
Who deepen the soil, distribute nutrients,
Recycle the bodies of trees past.
They help the trees with their charity
Sharing sugars with trees left in shade.
They help grandmother trees write their final wills
As they drain themselves of their own blood
To distribute among their descendants.
The oldest trees hold ancient wisdom
They’ve seen everything, and remember
Epigenetic markers on their DNA
To share, perhaps, when needed.
We may never understand all the mysteries
Of what the trees do
When we’re not paying attention.
But trees understand,
This is their world, their slow kingdom.
We are merely their guests.