Going Green

Summer Camp Vega WaterfrontCamp Vega prides itself on its beautiful campus of cathedral pines, clean air, lush green grass, and a crystal clear lake. From starting a camp garden to solar powered energy, Vega has made massive strides towards preserving Maine’s beautiful wilderness and its surroundings.

Waste Not, Want Not:
Over the last three years Vega has moved to a single stream recycling option. All recycling such as paper, bottles, cardboard, etc, gets put into a single bin and taken to a sorting facility. Along with paper, it is easy to throw out food to sit in a plastic bag forever. Instead, for a number of years, Vega has found a better solution by donating all discarded food to local farms for pig food.

Plastics Be Gone!:
One of the biggest changes Vega has made to create a greener camp is the elimination of disposable plates, cups, and plastic ware from all meals, including lawn meals. Before the change over, Vega disposed of roughly 80,000 pieces of non-biodegradable plastic ware each summer! Now, with a new and more efficient system, that number has been reduced dramatically.

New Building, New Mindset:
Our brand new field house is offering up some pretty amazing green opportunities as well. Along with the thorough count of new LED light bulbs, the 16 skylights are all solar powered. This allows the beautiful lake breezes to flow through the building while keeping it cool and saving energy.

Campers taking care of the Vega garden in 2015.

Campers taking care of the Vega garden in 2015.

Vega Green Garden:
Nestled in what used to be an unused field next to senior arts and crafts now sits Vega’s ever-expanding garden. Started as a small patch in 2009, the Vega Garden is now home to green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and more. The garden has tripled during its eight years of growth and is tended to daily by campers and counselors of our Outdoor Adventure program. Once the veggies are ripe they are picked, brought to the kitchen to be washed, and served on the line in the dining hall.

To see that our garden continues to expand and flourish, Vega has partnered with The Amir Project (www.amirproject.org), an organization whose mission is to help camps create and build sustainable farm and garden programs. With members of The Amir Project visiting regularly, Camp Vega is well on its ways to becoming a leader in making camps more eco-friendly.

The health and protection of Echo Lake are of utmost importance to Vega. That is why in 2014, Vega volunteered to participate in LakeSmart, a program run by the Maine Lakes Society.  LakeSmart surveys the land around lakes in Maine and advises land owners on ways they can use natural landscaping to help reduce unhealthy runoff into lake.

The blueberry bushes campers have been planting above Echo Lake’s shoreline (between swim and small crafts) are there for more than providing yummy snacks as we stroll by: they help Echo Lake by filtering the water that runs through the grass and into the lake.  We learned through LakeSmart that this is one of the best ways to help with runoff and why we add more blueberry bushes in grassy areas near the lake every summer.

Giving Back to the Future:
Vega isn’t done yet. More ways to go energy efficient and eco friendly pop up everyday. The next big hopeful is a project allowing Vega to install an extensive solar array on one of our larger buildings. This would generate massive amounts of solar energy for the camp and surrounding areas. Since camp is only at full-steam from June through August, the energy brought in during the off season months would go straight back into the grid.

The business of summer camp means the business of the future. Watching our campers grow into brilliant young women year after year reminds us that the promise of a clean and healthy tomorrow is imperative. We are proud and willing to make the necessary steps to ensure the beauty of Camp Vega, and the beauty of our planet, can be shared with generations to come.