Joshua Nodiff gained insight and passion for the environment during his overnight summer program. In His Own Words: Joshua Nodiff Shares His Summer Experience at BELL.
Tell us a little bit about BELL
The Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL) was a remarkable experience that certainly changed my life for the better. The program is centered around environmental science, hands-on education, social activism, and community leadership. BELL brought together a diverse group of likeminded students from all over the world that subsequently became a family to me.
Why did you choose BELL?
While initially researching for programs to attend last summer, BELL instantly stood out to me. I have a passion for environmental science and have always wanted to take an active role in making the world a better place while broadening my education. The program, which took place over two weeks at a campsite located off of the Narragansett Bay of Rhode Island, immersed myself and the other campers in an ecosystem where we could conduct experiments firsthand in the local surroundings.
What did the program entail?
The experiments were hands-on and focused on a variety of topics ranging from coastal ecology to urban development to ocean acidification. We would conduct experiments in the bay by evaluating the abundance and behavior of local organisms, and were given opportunities to build solar ovens and shower heaters to explore the power of solar energy. We would hike in the woods to educate ourselves on the forest ecology and local history of the Native Americans (the historical battle of Metacom took place on our campsite!), and we would kayak across the bay to observe the coastal ecosystems. We also participated in a series of community building and leadership activities to help us all work together.
How have your experiences influenced your aspirations?
I left the program as a true environmental activist. The staff helped each of us create an action plan that featured a proposal for how we could establish social change locally once we returned home. We even spent a day on the Brown University campus in order to conduct our research. It was apparent that the community we created at BELL quickly became like a family that will surely stay in touch by sharing ideas and working to help our environment. I have no doubt that this program helped us all become leaders for our generation, and agents of social change promoting what's most beneficial for everyone—protecting our environment.
What stood out for you the most during the BELL Program?
The two most important ideas that I took awayfrom this program are (1) our environment is beautiful, yet exhaustible and thatit is our responsibility to actively sustain it NOW, and (2) every being on this planet is a natural leader in his or her own right—and the most incredible skill is to be able to see the leader in each individual. I would highly recommend the BELL program, and I know for a fact that my experience will assist me in my future as an advocator for a sustainable planet.