New club preserves more green growth in paths to future


Lauren Vernon

Welcome to the young environmentalist club. Picture of PowerPoint slide of the presentation at the first club meeting for the new club.

Austin Liu, News Editor, Reporter

At the beginning of a new school semester, many students and teachers will return to their normal schedules filled with school events, tests and exams, work and volunteering, and other extracurricular activities. With academics, an opportunity to raise grades and to improve on standardized testing appears again. In summary, these special times of the school year mean a new beginning for students of all types for different reasons. Another feature of the coming of the new school semester not in the thoughts of many students is the addition of new club organizations to the list of the other active ones found at school. This event presents the student community with more choices to stay or become more involved within their school, meet other students with shared interests, and open other paths by which more learning and exploring in a wide variety of subjects is present outside of class time.

In this new spring semester of this school year, the high school decided to include another 13 new club organizations to add up to a total of 77 different club organization choices for students. Among the few new club organizations added this semester, one of them is the Young Environmentalists club sponsored by the Physics and Environmental Science teacher Clay Morton. The students who manage the meetings and planning of activities are junior Iman Blackwell, junior Foster Matlock, and junior Grier McClard. Their first meeting as a club this semester was held on January 24 during the A&E time of the Advisory period to share the wishes and the future plans for members of the club with time set aside for offering advice and suggestions between the leaders and the new members.

Describing the idea of her club and her beliefs about how it will function in the school community, President Blackwell stated that the club’s aim for the students of the school is “to open up group community service opportunities that will better the NWA environment and overall increase FHS understanding of and actions to protect the global and local environments.”

As an example of the types of work to which Blackwell, other leaders of the club, and participating members are dedicating their time and resources, Blackwell explained that the club is planning to schedule “an invasive species removal to help AP Environmental Science students at Lake Fayetteville” and set up “group activities with Tricycle Farms, a local agricultural sustainability organization.”

Through initiating a club organization with a focus in her interests of environmental protection and conservation, Blackwell feels passionate and excited to work towards producing positive change in the actions of students and the school community in their decisions that will influence the future conditions of the environment around them.

“The message Young Environmentalists wishes to spread to all that the responsibility of humans [is] to care for our natural environment because it cares for us…We hope others join our cause and attempt to stop catastrophe before it begins…,” stated Blackwell.

The club will stand for environmental community service, but she also ultimately hopes for those joining her club and others at the school that another intention of these efforts is that “the club changes…habits of members and nonmembers that are contributing to…environmental degradation” through actions such as “turning off lights, driving the speed limit, [and] only using reusable containers.”

In the path the club will choose for the future, Blackwell’s desire is for her club “to be focused on environmental actions in the community more so than just advocation”. However, she stated that the final result of the type of club is not definite and will depend on “the character of our members.”

Reflecting on the past and the steps to reaching the achievement of organizing the structure of her new club, Blackwell stated that growing up, she “was so passionate about wildlife conservation.”

“It was about sophomore year [that] I realized the extreme rate at which we were destroying our natural world and that most people around me [were not noticing or caring about it],” stated Blackwell. It was at this time that she approached now Vice President Grier McClard and proposed that they “change this.”

As the leader of her club, Blackwell is hopeful for the future of students who are interested in pushing progress in this field she supports and excited about the club’s ability to bring into focus this subject for other students that may cause potential change for the community.

“Right now, it seems that [there is] only a small group of members, but I am confident they are just as passionate as I am for improving the environment, and we will pick up a few more members [later]…My favorite part so far is [meeting] the new members because…they [raise] faith in our generation and our capabilities to fix this mess [created by humans].”

For the school community, Blackwell believes that the aims of her club should be concerns of all students and connects to a larger scale extending outside of the area within the school or local community.

“Young Environmentalists is such an important club to be offered to students because it supports tackling an issue that [extends] beyond FHS borders. Climate change and other human-induced consequences to the environment is the [largest] problem we face today, yet so many are denying the urgency to solve it…Young Environmentalists opens students up to ideas on how we can solve this issue.”

Committed to growing the influence and significance of her and her club’s work for the school and the local community, Blackwell feels pleased to share the message of her club to people of different kinds in that they might think about becoming a member and encouraging others to attend the meetings of the club and pass along the ideas and aims of the club to more students.

“Everything depends on the natural environment…sustainability issues [cannot] continue to be ignored… Join Young Environmentalists because it is a chance for you to [produce] a real environmental impact in your local community. And hey, you will [meet] some amazing friends, [too].”

To students at the high school with interests or creative ideas or thoughts connecting with the beliefs of the club, meetings occur during the A&E time of the advisory period on days that students gather together to attend meetings for the Group 4 set of clubs in Clay Morton’s classroom, Room 3952. To ask further questions applying to the club or for information about how to become involved in its efforts, speak with a or multiple leaders, Iman Blackwell, Foster Matlock, and Grier McClard, or the teacher sponsor of the club, Clay Morton. The club hopes to add more members and gain greater support from students and teachers at the high school in their meetings and planned events.

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