Posted by: NCC Poverty Initiative Director | September 26, 2011

Camps and Conference Centers Go Green

Last week, I went to the Sustainable Pathways conference and met people from various camps and conference centers run by the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). People came from Arkansas, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, and Minnesota.

We arrived Monday,  September 19 and were greeted by David Gill, the enthusiastic and creative executive director of Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center. The conference included sharing among participants about best practices for going green, business advice from Hospitality Green, theological reflections and worship resources from Run River Enterprises Camp and Retreat Center Consultants, and field trips to sustainable sites.

Some of the workshops at the conference included: “Back Door” Composting for Food Service Operation, Resource management: Maximum Efficiency Thru Zero Waste, Green Cleaning, Green purchasing, Water Conservation, Energy Assessments and Checklists, Greening Food Service, “Do You really Need It?, Can We Use It Again?,” Denominational Resources for Earth Care, “Dirty” theology, Planning Creation care worship services, Recycling, System efficiencies & Contractual Negotiations, Green Dollars for Green Projects, Creating Competitive Advantage by Going Green, Green Funerals and Eco-eternity Forests, Sourcing Local, Building Cooperatives to Build Communities.

I facilitated a conversation about what some needs might be for an ecumenical national network of camps and conference centers going green. Members of the group had set goals from the technical, such as establishing an eco-eternity forest on their properties, banning single-use plastic drink bottles, and finding “green” ways of building a swimming pool… to the more relational, such as finding resources to get a group together and make a plan. Some needs expressed included: a network to continue the conversation, help from those who have experience managing culture shifts, funding sources, best practice-sharing, tips on how to inspire and move people, and help with figuring out where to start. I also shared the Green Camp and Conference Center Covenant. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with this wonderful group of Christian camp, conference, and retreat center staff members who shape young lives, create spaces of rest, and, increasingly, create centers of education for sustainability.

Click here to go to the NCC Eco-Justice Outdoor ministries page.

Click here to read reflections from Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Center Association staff member Brian Frick.



  1. It was a wonderful event! Hope we do more like it in the future!

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