At Camp Dart-Lo, a 51-acre forested setting along the Little Spokane River, kids gather each summer to learn about leadership, team building and aptitude in the outdoors.
Now you can add energy conservation to the list of lessons.
For the second year in a row, employees from SNAP have been presenting at the day camp in North Spokane, talking to groups about energy awareness and ways to conserve.
On a sunny weekday morning in July, Kathleen Lara and Kellie Rector of SNAP welcomed around a dozen day campers to their station under the shade of towering fir trees. One of the group’s first missions was to figure out exactly how household energy is distributed.
“What uses the most energy in your house?” Lara asked.
From lights to computers to air conditioning, the answers came back. Lara then explained that the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system utilizes the most energy (around 43 percent of the monthly total) in a typical home. Hot water followed at 12 percent.
“What are some ways you can save energy?” Lara then asked campers.
Again, the group did their part to offer ideas such as turning off lights when they’re not in use. Lara and Rector supplemented the replies with some of their own, including the utilization of LED lights, using less hot water, writing on both sides of a piece of paper and deciding beforehand what to retrieve out of the refrigerator to prevent energy from escaping through a door left ajar.
When it came to guessing the average yearly cost of an LED lightbulb, many answers came close to the correct response. Based on the national average of 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour, a single 12-watt bulb will run around a dollar annually while a 14-watt LED will cost a homeowner $1.17 per year.
“You guys are so smart,” Rector said.
Kids also learn about different kinds of energy, including gas, mechanical, water, wind and solar as well as other energy-saving advice like turning computers off while not in use and removing phone chargers from wall outlets.
“I encourage you to explore more ways you, your family and your class can save energy,” Lara told the kids as they departed to their next station.
At the conclusion of each presentation, each camper receives a “Saving Energy is a SNAP” goodie bag with items like a coloring book, hand-held fan, “Win at Saving Energy!” stickers from Project Energy Savers and more. Around 600 kids have gone through the SNAP presentations this summer.
Sarah Rossman, Camp Dart-Lo director, said having SNAP at the day camp has helped kids learn about eco-friendly practices. Groups such as the Lands Council and Waste Management have also presented here.
“It’s cool to have them hearing about ways they can help the environment,” Rossman said. “It’s educating them about conservation.”