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Summer Fun in North Birmingham

Lashon Blakely, EPA, takes a picture with the camp group that found all of the lead hazards on the board at the health living station.

Subash Patel, EPA, helps one of the Summer Camp participants use the handheld X-Ray Fluorescent (XRF) to check a soil sample for lead contamination.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4 hosted a series of Summer Camps in the North Birmingham, AL area. These camps were designed to help educate the youth about EPA activities happening in their area and to educate them about healthy living.

The summer camps were put together through a partnership with the City of Birmingham to help educate kids about what EPA activities in their neighborhoods.  Superfund has been carrying out remediation activities in the North Birmingham area since September of 2011.

EPA volunteers captured the attention of the more than 120 children in attendance at the four camps with an assortment of fun games, demonstration models, and giveaways all aimed at providing a better understanding of the environment in which they live and play. 

Children were assigned to groups and rotated through five stations (climate change/energy, healthy homes/lead, asthma, water quality awareness, and healthy soil) during the first half of the day.  At the asthma station, children constructed a model of a human lung to demonstrate what happens during an asthma attack.
“It’s so sad that these children miss out on stuff like this during the school year,” said Jo Ann King, Recreational Director for the Fountain Heights Recreational Center. “This program is so educational, I wish we could do them more often.”

A summer camp participant uses a microscope to take a close look at mold at the ‘What is Asthma’ station.

At the end of the camp held at Fountain Heights Recreational Center, the children gathered around Ms. King for an impromptu quiz about all the things they had learned.

The summer camps were part of the enhanced engagement being implemented in the area as part of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s national theme -Making a Visible Difference in Communities.


U.S. EPA Region 4 - 2015 Environmental Justice Academy

You are invited to apply to the inaugural class of the Environmental Justice (EJ) Academy. The EJ Academy is a rigorous, in depth leadership development program for community leaders, which will increase their capacity to address their environmental and community challenges. The EJ Academy consists of a series of nine modules designed to cultivate skills in participants that may be used to identify and address environmental challenges in their communities. The EJ Academy will encourage collaborative problem solving with local government, small businesses, academic institutions and industry, to create a shared vision among different stakeholders so that all who are a part of the community can have a voice.

The EJ Academy will launch September 2015. Classes will be held monthly from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon and will conclude in May 2016.

Persons selected for the EJ Academy will learn the following:

  • How to leverage human, social, intellectual, technical, legal, and financial resources to make long-term progress in a community;
  • How to use consensus-building processes and skills to help ensure successful collaboration and negotiations;
  • How to increase capacity to address communities’ environmental and/or public health issues; and
  • A basic understanding of environmental justice and environmental regulations.

As a result of participating in the EJ Academy, participants will receive the following benefits:

  • Complete a community portfolio, which will assist in securing funding, identifying partners, describing community resources and challenges and establishing credibility amongst stakeholders;
  • Complete a plan that will guide organizational activities;
  • Identify and secure potential partners to assist them with addressing their challenges;
  • Interact directly with technical experts from EPA and other organizations;
  • Network with other community leaders and establish mutually beneficial relationships;
  • Be eligible to apply for 40 hours of technical assistance from the Community Planning Assistance Program at the conclusion of the Program;
  • Receive individualized feedback, guidance, and assistance from experts.

The EJ Academy application is available online at http://epa.gov/region4/newsevents/eja_application.pdf. To be considered for selection, applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm, August 14, 2015 to R4_EJAcademy@epa.gov. If you are unable to access the online application, please contact Sheryl Good at 404-562-9559 or at R4_EJAcademy@epa.gov for a hard copy. Mailed applications must be postmarked by August 14, 2015.

Please note that the EJ Academy application requires use of the latest version of Adobe Acrobat. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is available, free, for Unix, Macintosh, IBM DOS, and IBM Windows operating systems.  Download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader   exit EPA   from Adobe's Web site.  Adobe also offers accessibility toolsexit EPA to enable the conversion of PDF to html.



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