Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center

For Spring Break this year, Associate Director for Sustainability Lori Strawder accompanied three Georgia College students on an “Alternative Spring Break” to the Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center in Washburn, Tennessee.  The group learned about ways of living that don’t damage the Earth, including permaculture gardening, energy efficient housing, and low-water plumbing.

Georgia College faculty and students at the Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center for Alternative Spring Break 2015

“We built lodges of straw and used cellulose fiber to seal the cracks,” said Sara Loaiza, a senior in Mass Communications.  “The dwellings will last 100 years when they are tightly sealed, and are not a fire hazard.”

“All our energy came from solar panels, which get sun even in winter,” added Lauren Gorham, a freshman in Liberal Studies.  “I didn’t miss anything from being off-the-grid for a week.”

The facility uses composting toilets, that combine human waste with peat moss to produce a fertile supplement to gardens.  As much as possible, the center produces food to feed everyone on the property in every season.

At night, to conserve energy, the group used candles to work on jigsaw puzzles or keep the conversation alive.  The students brought home several ideas on how to incorporate sustainability in to life at Georgia College.

“We have a lot of good information to help us with the campus garden,” said Gorham.  “And we hope we can make improvements in conserving resources and adding an awareness to daily life.”

Published by Doug R. Oetter

Professor of Geography at Georgia College & State University.

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