Apply now for summer youth environment summit

Applications are being taken for the National Youth Environmental Summit, which is expected to draw 200 high school students from across the nation to the Center for the Environment at Catawba College in Salisbury.

"Redesigning Our Future" is a five-day intensive experience for rising high school juniors and seniors who have a commitment to environmental leadership. It is scheduled for July 20-24 with follow-up activities through May 2012.

The students will explore sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. They will engage in problem-solving activities around alternative energy, air and water quality, land preservation, sustainable development and green building.

Organizers say the experience will provide knowledge and analytical skills that will empower participants to make tangible impacts as environmental leaders.

The center is collaborating on the summit with the Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI sustainability designers, scientists and engineers will join a diverse group of Catawba professors and other visiting presenters to offer what organizers say will be a landmark experience for high school students.

"If we are to ensure a sustainable future for our communities, nation and world, we must redesign the way we think and live," said John Wear, executive director of the Center for the Environment, in a news release. "The ideas of today will become the solutions of tomorrow, so today's youth will ultimately carry this torch of sustainability."

The summit will involve multiple disciplines. Students will explore environmental leadership through the perspective of their own skills and interest in the arts, humanities, education, history, business, science and technology. They will learn how essential elements of those varied disciplines - creativity, expression, innovation, observation, experimentation and teamwork - are also critical.

"Some participants will be gifted musicians, writers, artists, designers, performers or public speakers," Wear said. "Others may have aptitude in science, math and technology. They will be assigned to groups by areas of interest that tap into their specific passions but will also be encouraged to informally cross-pollinate their ideas with those from other groups."

The $875 cost includes tuition, meals, lodging, activities and materials.

Scholarship assistance is available. Applications will be taken through Feb. 28, but organizers said assistance is much more likely to be available early in the application period.

To learn more, visit or call the center at 704-637-4727.