The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16
Part of Falling Creek Camp’s mission is to help boys understand their relationship with nature. Camp is the perfect place to be surrounded by and discover the wonders of nature. It is also a place for boys to learn how to be stewards of the earth and environment.
Falling Creek has worked to permanently protect over 150 acres of forest land from being developed by using conservation easements. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. – Land Conservation Alliance
F.A.R.M. is an activity at camp. It stands for Food, Animals, Repurposing, and Manpower. The boys participate in projects like multiple forms of composting and rainwater collection for irrigation. They learn transferable skills that can be used in their everyday lives. They gain a better understanding about the importance of their influence on the footprint of the environment. They strengthen the connection they have with food and nature. And we think they leave with a new appreciation for sustainable living.
Indian Lore Program
Our Indian Lore program gets its roots from Camp Sequoyah, a historic camp that used to operate nearby. Boys learn outdoor skills and how native peoples interacted with nature, as well as Native American culture and history.
Our Nature activity teaches campers respect for environment, conservation principles, and living in harmony through hands on learning. Our staff focuses takes advantage of our location to teach the boys about nature and the environment in Western North Carolina.
Leave No Trace
Our staff members teach and practice Leave No Trace concepts while on trips out of camp and on our camp property. Our out-of-camp trips also use biodegradable soap when in the wilderness.
We have morning watches, church themes, and campfire programs during the summer that are focused on being stewards of the earth and the environment. What a better place to learn these lessons than while you are in the middle of it!
We have recycling, compost, and trash bins in every building and all around camp.
Campers learn about composting in our F.A.R.M. program through several types of small-scale composting. Our dining hall compost is picked up by a local large-scale composting company. We compost all food waste, napkins, and even milk cartons!
We recycle paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, batteries, toner, electronics, old tires, and scrap metal year-round that are generated from our normal operations. Kitchen oils are stored and picked up by a local biofuel company to be repurposed. When trees fall at camp we use them to make lumber for projects, firewood for our campfires, or leave them to complete their life cycle. We also donate any retired furniture and appliances to Habitat for Humanity. Unclaimed Lost and Found gets donated to Goodwill or our county Foster Closet. When we replaced all of our camp blankets, we donated the old ones to a local animal shelter to be used as bedding.
We encourage the camp community to turn off lights, fans, etc. in cabins and activities. In our daily cabin inspection process, we take points off of a cabin’s score for lights left on. Occupancy sensor light switches and smart power strips are installed in key areas around camp, and we use daylight sensors on outdoor lights like the light illuminating our flagpole.
We converted the majority of our lights around camp to CFL’s a decade ago because they reduced electricity usage. As those bulbs burn out, we are replacing them with newly available LED bulbs that save even more electricity! We also replace any appliances, water heaters, and plumbing fixtures with energy efficient models.
Camp developed a proprietary online web-based camp administration system that has increased operational efficiency and reduced paper waste. It tracks attendance and camper progressions in the activities electronically, instead of on paper. The system has allowed our infirmary to go almost paper-free through electronic Medication Administration Records, medical records, and electronic log and treatment charting.
In our dining hall, we emphasize: “Take what you want, but eat what you take.” We ask campers and staff to be mindful about what they choose to put on their plates, to reduce what is put in the compost bin. Kitchen oils are stored and picked up by a local biofuel company to be repurposed. Our Dining Hall uses real plates, bowls, cups, and utensils at meals. Trips take bowls and utensils, and boys take reusable water bottles. Our camp cookouts use completely compostable plates, flatware, and cups. And don’t forget the Cheerwine! We recycle the cans after our cookouts. Our produce is also sourced from a local food purveyor that reduces the carbon footprint of our food delivery and supports local farmers.
We encourage parents to carpool on Opening and Closing days if they know anyone coming to camp. We encourage our staff to carpool on their time off if they are leaving camp property.
No hunting is allowed on our 645 acres. We also have several endangered species on our property: Green Salamanders and Pitcher Plants. Our fishing program practices catch and release fishing on our lakes and section of the Green River. We also emphasize to our campers and staff to remember their place in nature around camp; they are here for a short time, and most of the camp property is not utilized when camp is not in operation. We also kept the remaining apple trees on camp property to act as food plots as wildlife in the area. This all allows nature to thrive!