The convention center is packed. From infants to grandparents, the hall is crowded with people of all ages, each excited about learning more about the environment around us. I walk by countless experiments at booths surrounded by excited kids and pass by experts in the field discussing their new research projects with curious students. I am struck by the passion and excitement in the room– what an amazing place to connect with other stewards from across the nation!
This past month, I was privileged enough to present my research and work in the Johnson Creek watershed at the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington D.C. as the high school student representative for the EPA. It was a great opportunity to connect with other environmentalists in the field and share the work we do here at the Council with other stewards across the country. In total, the conference had approximately 370,000 people in attendance over four days– definitely overwhelming, but very exciting.
Although the time was short, I was able to learn so much about programs across the country working towards sustainability. I met students from universities such as Cornell, Georgia Tech, and Johns Hopkins to discuss solutions to global and local problems and share our research projects, learning about a plethora of innovative ideas from projects that utilize the power of raindrops to heat buildings to robotic systems that incentivize at-home water conservation. Additionally, I met with leaders at the EPA, including the Director of Science Policy, Dr. Fred Hauchman who shared with me the importance of his work at the intersection between policy and science.
The festival brought people from diverse backgrounds together to discuss environmental solutions. Countless parents, kids, students, and teachers all passed by my booth. I was able to share information with teachers and students about the green infrastructure projects here in Portland and talk about the Stormwater Management Program at JCWC. Overall, it was incredibly inspiring to be reminded of the large community of environmentalists that we are all a part of here in Portland. Although our work here may be local, our ideas, connections, and drive for collaboration make us part of a global force for sustainability, and it’s nice to be reminded of that.
Written by Adam Nayak, JCWC Stormwater Outreach Intern