Mindful Teen Spotlight: EcoAction Makes Renewable Energy Reality

Hello, all! Earlier this year I was interviewed by Jennifer Freedman, a writer for the Mindful Littles blog, an organization that “combines the power of mindfulness and community action, to equip kids to make conscious choices for a more positive future for themselves and the world— no matter what life brings them”(https://mindfullittles.org/). Ecological Action was a highlighted organization making a difference in our community. If you are interested in reading what I had to say,  please click HERE!

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during these unprecedented times.

Riley Weeks

Global Awareness Day!

Hello, all!

Just some recent updates as to what Ecological Action has been up to! Recently, Abbie and I presented in front of an auditorium of over 900 Cherry Creek High School students in celebration of Global Awareness Day. Hosted by Amnesty International, this day allows students to be challenged by new perspectives and inspired to do good in the world. We talked about what Ecological Action has accomplished in the past seven years, and where it is headed (hint hint we are now a non-profit!). But most importantly, we encouraged students to find their passion in life and stick with it, because passion is what makes life worth living. An important part of what we do is sharing it with others, and Global Awareness Day was a great platform for this. Thank you so much to the students and teachers who came to watch us speak, and thank you, reader, for your continued support!

Cheers,

Riley

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Abbie and I smiling after our presentation!

Pine Ridge 2018

Hello, all! As you know, EcoAction traveled to the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation last year and successfully installed solar panels on a veteran’s home there (Check it out by clicking HERE). This year, we plan to do it again with our amazing partners at GRID Alternatives! We are so excited for the opportunity to give a sustainable energy option to those who will greatly benefit. To keep updated on this summer’s trip,  be sure to check back here as the summer progresses!

To be prepared for this year’s trip, we have been conducting solar training meetings at Cherry Creek High School. AP Environmental teacher and EcoAction club sponsor Jeff Boyce has been leading these trainings, and we feel very prepared for this summer’s install! Not only has this been an amazing collaborative experience for the students who regularly attend the trainings, it also has been a way for students that are passionate about the environment to learn about solar panels, a critical and beneficial way to protect and connect with our surrounding environment. Those traveling to Pine Ridge this summer are beyond excited for what is to come. We hope you can’t wait to hear about it!

Peace and Love,

Riley

Roof Team May 30th Robin Tutchton

 

 

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Standing there with a line attached to my back and an harness that was too tight in the wrong places,  I watched as a man I had just met demonstrated pulling up shingles and sliding in a metal plate with a silver rectangle with a hole in the top into the shingles. The metal plate, called flashing, would be bolted into the rafters and serve as a reliable mount for the solar panels. 

My first thought was “oh please don’t make me do that I won’t be able to.”

But then I realized they needed help measuring out the area of the array. I volunteered to help measure out 48 inches between each chalk dot and 24 inches for the last distance. I nailed it, measuring perfectly and handling the tape measure with such elegance that it made the birds stop and stare.

But ruining my “on Top of the world” feeling we were called to lunch. Furiously I swallowed my mustard, ham and cheese sandwich and soon enough was standing back at the top of the ladder waiting to be clipped into my child safety leash.

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We spent the next hours pulling up shingles and flashing them, once that was done, we’d install the brackets and bolt it into place and put on a washer and rubber stopper on top.  Next I descended from my perch up above and began to help assemble rails that the solar panels would rest on. We then took the rails and carried them up to the roof. We then bolted in the rails and began to attach the inverters. First we wired up the rails by placing a cord and nailing it to the metal. Then we took  inverters and screwed them in above the cord, and then at last we plugged them into the wire. Once that was done we looked around and saw that two arrays had been completed, this startled me because I was in such a trance of work. After feeling successful with being able to do the task I drove us back to camp – where we all slept gloriously.

 

Ground Team May 30th Riley Weeks

Hey again! It’s Riley (If you don’t know who I am, check out my other blog posts towards the bottom of this page)! As I write this, I am sitting in the car with the door open and the breeze blowing through, listening to the sounds of cranking wrenches and steady drills on the roof of Mr.Conquering Bear’s and his family’s home. So far (its only 12:39 as a write this), it has been an awe-inspiring, productive work-day, which sounds far-fetched, but is honestly the truth! Let me back up though, I am getting ahead of myself. Yesterday, after our cultural meeting with Mr.Doyle, we drove down, following Mr. Boyce’s incredibly green and hippie-screaming Westfalia van, to the property where we were to spend the next three days installing solar panels. Honestly, I was clueless. Not just about the difference between AC disconnect and junction boxes, or where and how to saw conduit, but also what the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation was like and how the community works together to find solutions to energy issues.

 

But, in both these fields, I was learning, and fast. I was not expecting to do much work on the first day, as we didn’t start until 11:30ish after our cultural training. However, I figured out that we would be doing a lot. There was work to do just on the ground, not even related to the solar modules on the roof. I volunteered to drill holes, screw bolts, place conduit, and even go underneath the house in the crawl space to ensure that all of the wiring that we would eventually complete would have a secure place to go without the risk damage to the wires through water runoff or friction from other things near it. At the beginning of the day, I was afraid to ask questions of the trained professionals I was working with through GRID Alternatives. I figured they had a lot on their plates, worrying about where and when to place the solar panels as well as all of the other components to make the system work. But, I eventually understood that these trained professionals wanted to teach us about what they were doing, and wanted us to be as hands on as possible. It was incredible to be able to ask all the questions I wanted and after a while, I was able to really understand what we were doing throughout the day, and what the end result was bound to look like. When the sun had just begun to sink over the rolling hills in the distance of the Reservation, the only clear work that I had completed was a metal pole on the side of the house, with a box sticking out the end of it. To some, it might have been just that: a box on a pole, but to me, it signified the beginning of an amazing solar install to help an amazing veteran and his family live in their home with reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity. For me, Day One on the ground was a job well done.

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