ND team founds children’s outdoors program

first_imgMeg Handelman | The Observer Notre Dame doctoral biology student Victoria Lam recently founded “Triple C,” a six-week rock climbing program aimed at fostering passion for the outdoors in young students in the South Bend community through a combined effort of graduate and undergraduate students at the University.Manuel Rocha, a current senior and Notre Dame climbing club president, said the three Cs stand for camping, climbing and cameras.“The main mission of Triple C is to connect underprivileged youths to the outdoors,” Rocha said. “We hoped that through these activities, the students would develop confidence, leadership and teamwork.”In addition to these qualities, he said he hoped the program would also foster life-long knowledge, skills and love for the outdoors.Although the program focused mainly on rock climbing, Rocha said mentors also introduced students to stream ecology education and photography.“Our first weekend, the students toured the museum of biodiversity and learned about invertebrates,” he said. “We then went to Juday Creek where Ph.D. candidates in biology taught the students about stream ecology and conservation.”During the trip to Juday Creek in Granger, Ind., Rocha said the program emphasized teaching the students different ways to act as “stewards of the environment.” Part of the trip included projects where students conducted field studies and designed their own experiments.Rocha said the program also incorporated a photographic component to expose students to nature and sports photography.“The students learned basic photography skills from a Notre Dame instructor and were then given a camera for each of the small groups – about three kids per mentor – to take pictures throughout the duration of the program,” he said.Creating this program required funding, which Lam said she received through a Notre Dame Graduate Life Grant and a Merrell Pack Project Grant from Outdoor Nation.“I have actually been selected to be a part of the Outdoor Nation Advisory Council and am helping as an university engagement adviser for their upcoming Campus Activation Challenge,” she said.Through participation in the challenge, Lam said the program could potentially win $5,000 for club sports in addition to an outdoor festival.Although exact dates for the next program cycle are not currently available, Rocha said students can expect Triple C to take place again in the early fall.“[Graduate and undergraduate] students can become involved with Triple C by being a mentor,” he said. “Although we did most of our recruiting for mentors though the climbing club, it’s open to all students.”To join the climbing club email list, Rocha said students can contact ndclimb@nd.eduAs for children who would like to enroll in the program, Rocha said recruitment takes place from the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) and La Casa de Amistad.“We go there during the summer and give a presentation about the program,” he said. “From there, we see what students are interested in joining. We also work very closely with the directors of both places to make sure that we select students that are motivated and will be a good fit for our program.”To create this program, Lam said the team also worked with Humberto Delgado, Educational Youth Program Coordinator at La Casa de Amistad and Duane Wilson, Advanced Skills Program Director at the RCLC.“Our point of contact at RecSports was Dave Brown at Rolfs [Sports Recreation Center], who is in charge of club sports, and I believe he said he was looking into expanding their outdoor recreation initiatives,” she said.Contact Carolyn Hutyra at chutyra@nd.eduTags: Outdoorslast_img read more

Governor lowers Tropical Storm Irene damage estimates

first_imgVermont Governor Peter Shumlin and administration officials today reduced Agency of Transportation damage estimates in response to Tropical Storm Irene. VTrans, which initially believed the cost of repairing all roads, culverts and bridges on the state system could exceed $600 million, now estimates the actual cost will be between $175 million and $250 million. The agency revised its estimate following two intense months of conducting repairs to more than 500 miles of state highway and some 200 state-owned bridges. The new estimate is based on Federal Highway’s Detailed Damage Inspection Report (DDIR) process and includes a contingency for unknown costs and spring repairs. ‘This is great news for Vermont taxpayers,’ said Governor Peter Shumlin. ‘Not only are we recovering from Irene faster than anyone expected, we are also conducting repairs at a cost considerably less than anyone expected.’ Administration officials explained that there are a variety of factors that account for the higher initial estimate: Standard vs. Emergency Construction: Our engineers are trained to estimate construction costs based on standard construction practices, not emergency construction practices.  Normal estimates include lengthy and sometimes costly processes, such as federal and state permitting, utility relocation, environmental mitigation, design reviews, planning, scoping, municipal coordination, survey, right-of-way acquisition and legal proceedings, etc.  These are part of the standard roadway process but were not a part of the emergency response during a declared state of emergency.  Significantly, during Irene recovery, much of the work was done while roads were closed.  This removed the timely and costly burden of trying to accommodate traffic and heavy equipment through work zones.  It also eliminated the mobilization/demobilization that occurs on many ‘normal’ construction projects when you need to reopen roads at the end of each day.  Vermont Strong: VTrans original estimates were based on standard construction practices, and didn’t anticipate the collaborative spirit and sense of urgency that Vermonters shared during this emergency. Irene drove people to work harder, faster, and to use innovation to get the job done more expeditiously.  VTrans repaired over 500 miles of damaged road and opened 32 bridges in just 2 months; this was done in large part from the sense of urgency and teamwork that the estimators could not have foreseen.  Nobody would have ever guessed we could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, not even us. ‘We cannot emphasize enough that these are only estimates, and continue to be volatile and subject to change,’ said Deputy Secretary Sue Minter. ‘There are Irene related projects that will not be completed for years and we expect our construction costs to change through time, although we do not expect them to exceed $250 million.’ To account for new issues that the Administration anticipates may emerge over the coming months and years, a contingency reserve has been added to current estimates. This reserve will address issues that may arise in the design of permanent repairs, plus work that may need to be redone from spring high water and roadway settlement. There are numerous concerns with river stability and debris as related to sink holes and slides. While the revised construction estimate is good news for Vermont, Governor Shumlin emphasized that repairs related to Irene are still projected to exceed the amount that Vermont would normally spend during an entire highway construction season.  As a result, help from Congress is still needed to ensure the heroic work conducted this fall does not have lasting financial consequences that impede the state’s ability to properly maintain its roads, culverts and bridges into the future. ‘The news today is good, but I caution that we are not out of the woods yet,’ Shumlin said. ‘The magnitude of what happened to us is still enormous, and we will need help from our federal partners to recover properly.’ Governor’soffice. 10.31.2011###last_img read more

Obaseki Explores More Centres to Host 2020 Sports Festival

first_imgObaseki disclosed this while on inspection of re-modelling work at the Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), formerly known as Benin Technical College, in Benin City.He said: “I am going to inspect what the school has in its sporting arena. We are hosting the National Sports Festival in 2020 and we need venues for the events, so we want to see if we can rebuild the swimming pool here, the lawn tennis court and even the race tracks.”This is coming as the National Council on Sports is holding a week-long extraordinary meeting in Benin City, the first since Edo State was given the hosting right for the 2020 National Sports Festival.THISDAY checks revealed that top on the agenda of the meeting is the review of the 19th National Sports Festival hosted in Abuja, status of Beach Volleyball, zonal eliminations for team sports, sports for the next festival and medical guidelines.Other issues expected to be discussed include the proposed date for the 20th National Sports Festival and inspection of facilities.After Edo was given the right to host the 2020 edition of the sports fiesta, Governor Obaseki assured stakeholders “that the confidence reposed in us would be justified. The sports community will have no cause to regret this momentous decision that has been taken for Edo State to host the next edition of the National Sports Festival.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Godwin Obaseki  *National Council on Sports meets in EdoAdibe Emenyonu in Benin CityEdo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government would explore more sporting centres across the state as venues for sporting activities during the 2020 National Sports Festival to be hosted by the state.last_img read more