Folkman, JCC partner to groom future green builders
Jim Folkman, the head of the Foundation for Building (pictured) and David J. Simon, executive director of Albuquerque’s Jewish Community Center, are spearheading Camp Green to foster interest in the built environment among kids.
Two Albuquerque executives are partnering on an effort to foster interest in the built environment among kids.
Jim Folkman, the head of the Foundation for Building and David J. Simon, executive director of Albuquerque’s Jewish Community Center, are spearheading the project, Camp Green. The Foundation for Building administers the Build Green New Mexico program, a third-party certification system.
Folkman, the former head of the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico, is on the JCC’s board.
Simon has been the executive director of the JCC for about 16 months after decades of work in the conservation field, previously as Gov. Bill Richardson’s director of New Mexico state parks.
The hope, they say, is to build on an inherent interest among youth in environmental and sustainability issues. Simon said that as part of the JCC’s community service mission and its outreach to kids, the partnership and specialized camp made sense.
“There is a direct connection between our beautiful landscape, sustainability efforts and economic vitality,” Simon said. “Those efforts have been integrated well in a city like Portland and they have much more rain than we have.”
Simon said the nonprofit JCC does well with its summer camp models and he and Folkman saw an opportunity for an enriched education twist.
Camp Green is a camp for kids 8 to 13 to make them more aware of the built environment. Topics covered will include energy, water conservation, recycling and residential green building.
“Kids already grasp many of these subjects and know these things intuitively. It gives us a higher baseline to start with,” Simon said. “We’re not going to ask them to redevelop Downtown, but they can learn more about how development can exist with the environment.”
Folkman said the camp will hopefully serve as a model that could then be picked up by the other 130 JCCs across the U.S.
“If we can get this program fine-tuned, I think between FFB resources and national resources, we can even take it to APS and other school systems,” Folkman said. “It will inform these kids about the importance of daily decisions, whether it’s recaulking your windows or making building a profession.”
The camp will include field trips to green built homes, and Folkman wants to take the kids to UNM’s Solar Decathlon home at Mesa del Sol.
The inaugural camp is scheduled to run Aug. 4 to Aug. 8. For more information, contact Simon via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (505) 332-0565.