While it seems like Knox has an abundance of environmental groups on campus, the most interesting thing about these organizations are the ways they set themselves apart.
“(Our goal) is simply to provide a space for students to not only worry on conserving and preserving the environment — which is very important — as in S4S, but to also relax and enjoy nature,” said President of Nature Club Jennifer Gonzalez, junior. “I think it’s important especially on a college campus to have a place for students to slow down.”
Gonzalez took over as president of the club after founder, junior Caitlin Edelmuth, stepped down because of her commitment to other activities. Edelmuth created the club in hopes to bring back the style of older organizations previously on campus that were disbanded, such as Bee Club and Gardening Club. The goal of Nature Club was to combine these two while also focusing more on nature leisure.
“We plant, we learn and most of all we enjoy nature around us,” Gonzalez said. “Nature club (…) is for people to sit back and learn about nature by directly interacting with it.”
At its origin, exec members tried to mirror other campus clubs with weekly meetings, but soon found that it was best to be more event focused with bi-weekly meetings. Past events include bee talks, natural DIY events, up-cycling craft events and terrarium workshops.
One of the more notable projects launched by Nature Club was planting way-station plants across campus. These particular plants promote pollinators, circling back to their Bee and Gardening Club origins.
They’ve also become involved in the Bioneers Conference — a forum for speakers of varied disciplines to share nature-based solutions to societal issues.
During their bi-weekly meetings, participants learn about new ecosystems and individual species of plants, animals and insects.
“We can’t always go outside and experience all the nature the world has to offer,” Gonzalez said.
The thing that sets Nature Club apart from other organizations dedicated to helping and conserving the environment is the club’s active participation in nature. This is why, in addition to their workshops, the club sets aside time for direct interaction with nature. This includes hiking, sledding, gardening and seed collection walks.
“We feel like finding the origin to care for the environment comes first through experiencing its beauty firsthand,” Gonzalez said.
As for the future of Nature Club, one of its main goals is to take natural ingredients and used material that would otherwise be wasted or thrown out and make something useful with it. For example, one of the club’s more recent events was a DIY lip balm workshop using beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter.
More than anything, though, Gonzalez hopes the club acts more like a bridge for conversation; specifically, conversations about nature and how best to interact with it.
“Learning and interacting is one of our main avenues of building a long lasting love of nature, which can help individuals appreciate their world and thus, their lives,” Gonzalez said.