Due to illness, we have just postponed our fifth small wind turbine workshop for the fifth time! Look for it in October 2022 during a week to yet be determined. Why October? Nicer weather, mainly. It is near the end of hurricane season on the East Coast of North America, and it is usually cooler and drier. If a frost does come along, it means the leaves will turn colors for their fall display.
At this time, we have come through several waves of COVID-19 in our community, our family members all have their vaccines and boosters, and we are much looking forward to the return of days when we will feel safe unmasked in the company of people who are not only of our households or various "pods". Mask mandates are being dropped all around us, as the Omicron variant's spike dissipates, but masks are still required indoors in our North Carolina county and in most of our local businesses and schools.
We are aware of the special needs of people in our community who for health reasons cannot be vaccinated, who have or are living with people who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed, or who work in healthcare settings, and we offer our visible respect by continuing to wear our masks, keeping our social distance, and frequently and thoroughly washing or otherwise sanitizing our hands.
I had an opportunity to substitute for a colleague who was having surgery during Winter Term at Elon University, teaching a course about climate change strategic communications. Winter Term courses are compressed and intense, shoe-horning 15 weeks of instruction and exams into 15 days during January. Meeting with 31 masked undergraduates in a classroom that was full, but flexible, after two years of online-only instruction was exciting, welcome, and a bit terrifying. Quite a few of the class members had to be quarantined for 5 days at a time, so I learned how to offer the class in "hybrid-mode" on the fly, wrangling so many microphones, cameras, and settings among the classroom's built in equipment and that which I was able to borrow from the Library. It was gratifying for me to witness how hungry my students were for this experience. The course was a chance for mainly business and communications majors to learn about the causes and impacts of climate change, about solutions, and most of all how to plan and implement strategic communications to influence targeted audiences regarding what they can personally do to engage and make a difference.
My students informed me that they identify as members of "Gen Z", which the Pew Research Center polls inform all of us is the most active demographic group when it comes to talking about and personally doing things that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The work we do at Handy Village, teaching people about hand-building and operating small wind electric power generators, sometimes feels like we may be way ahead of our time. Sometimes we think we are behind the times as fewer and fewer small wind power manufacturers remain standing. But this generation coming up is ready to take responsibility for a healthy planet into their own hands, and after my experience working with my students as they role-played and simulated community climate resilience and wind turbine siting challenges in January, I think we may right on time.
We look forward to offering our wind workshop and open house in October 2022, and to begin offering new opportunities and programs, as well. The first new opportunity that we have planned is opening up a couple of days of local, small wind turbine inspection, maintenance, and repair, to visitors at no cost. If you think you might be interested in witnessing us lowering towers and servicing turbines we have made in past workshops, write to us in the contact form and let us know. The dates will be March 22 and 24, 2022, during the week that we had originally scheduled our small wind workshop. This experience will be valuable to anyone considering making or operating a small wind turbine, especially because it will be a chance to see how the towers work and to see the assembled components of the turbines up close. May we all stay healthy, safe, productive, and find joy in 2022.
Oh, and Happy Mardi Gras, may the good times roll!