Enriching Activities Offered in the New Year

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Bugbee
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With a new year comes renewed determination to start over. Perhaps you want to make energy-efficient changes to your farm or home, or maybe your passion lies in connecting with nature. You can act on your ambitions by participating in a workshop or taking a course through the following organizations.

Solar Energy International (SEI) offers a Free Online Intro to Renewable Energy course. Students learn a general overview of renewable energy and which energy option is best tailored to their area in a span of 10 units beginning with “Why Renewable Energy?” and ending with “Economics of Renewable Energy.” Pass the quiz at the end and you’ll receive a printable SEI Record of Completion. If you want to go beyond the basics, this workshop schedule provides a list of courses that cover such topics as solar electric design and grid installation, or even renewable energy for the developing world. Prices for these courses vary along with the location, and some workshops are available online.

If you have an interest in nature and outdoor activities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System events calendar offers a wide range of pursuits. You can take a sleigh ride to view an elk herd in Wyoming or join an eagle-watching expedition in Oklahoma. Other offerings include hikes, cross-country skiing and various festivals throughout the nation.            

Both new and established farmers across the nation can benefit from the educational opportunities offered by the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA). You can learn about the growing agritourism industy, integrated water management on the farm, how to employ cover crops for better soil fertility, and much more. There’s a long list of workshops, conferences and other activities on ATTRA’s 2011 calendar of events.

Celebrate 2011 by taking part in a few of these enriching endeavors. Gather a group of friends or family, or go enjoy a new experience on your own — there are endless opportunities to learn something new!

Photo by Gunnar Hildonen/Creative Commons