Monday, May 16, 2011

Student environmental initiative goes pro, seeks funding

Morgan Brown is an MCC-Blue River scholar who likes to keep it green. She has been developing an organization called Timberbred which is dedicated to providing environmental information to the public and eventually starting a fund to protect Mangroves, an important and quickly depleting part of the global ecosystem.

Mangrove trees and the swamps and forests that they support are nesting grounds for hundreds of species of birds. Their treetops make homes for monkeys and eagles. Around their midsections live monitor lizards and fishing cats. Among their stilted, water-bound roots live manatees, turtles, and fish. Mangroves even provide shelter to endangered species, such as bald eagles, American crocodiles, and hawksbill turtles.

The MCC Insider asked Timberbred founder Morgan Brown a few questions about the state of the environment and what
Timberbred can do to help.

Insider: What is the greatest ecological threat to our world today?

Brown: I’d have to say climate change. It’s the biggest problem we’re facing at this current time, and people are beginning to see the changes. Just flip on the news and you’ll see all of the crazy weather we’ve been experiencing, tornados, floods, droughts. It’s in our face.

Insider: What do you anticipate will happen over the next ten years due to the environmental changes made by mankind?

Brown: Well, if my dreams come true, the world will wake up and people won’t be using the economy as an excuse to take advantage of the environment. If that happens and we continue to change our sources of energy we might just be able to start repairing some of the damage that has been done. Solar panels to power houses, electric cars as transportation, wind and water powering our cities; it would be beautiful. On the other hand if we don’t step it up we could be facing the exact opposite.

Times are changing and we have the free will to change with it.

Insider: What do you imagine an ideal world would look like?

Brown: A clean Earth with a healthy human and animal population where extinction only occurred naturally.

Insider: Where are you in your college career right now?

Brown: I am currently finishing up my last semester here at MCC-Blue River. I have one class here which is Environmental Science… I will be taking classes at MCC over the summer to complete my Associate of Arts.

Insider: What happened here at MCC-Blue River to make you want to start Timberbred?

Brown: I actually had been wanting to start doing something for the environment even before I began attending Blue River… After finishing Ben Wolfe’s Geology 101 course last spring and attending his field study the summer afterward, my curiosity had increased greatly, and I was more than sure that working outside was definitely something I wanted to look into. In other words, it made my career choice evident.

Insider: Was there anything you particularly enjoy about your experience here?

Brown: I enjoy mostly how close I managed to get to two faculty members in general, Ben Wolfe and Mehdi Borhan, as well as the diversity that came along with the freedom of taking classes at a community college.

Insider: What segment of environmentalism do you think that the public is least aware of?

Brown: Degradation.  I think when most people think about going green they think recycling, they think carbon footprint, but what a lot of people don’t know is that there are other things that aren’t put on the news. Up until the most recent… three to five years, people didn’t know there were ways to produce energy beyond petroleum products. There are things such as deforestation that haven’t been brought to attention, pesticide mutation and overpopulation. Problems are endless, but there are little things everybody can do to make a personal difference.

. . . .

Simply getting involved in environmental activities would be my request.

I guess the best way for me to explain [my philosophy] would be via quote: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” Malcolm X.

Getting involved is really all we as individuals can do. I don’t think people realize just how much of a difference they can make by taking little steps towards change.

Insider: What environmental efforts do you participate in at MCC-Blue River?

Brown: I am the president of the Science Club at MCC-Blue River. I labeled all the recycling bins on campus, sometimes I play environmental videos on Friday of [instructor Medhi Borhan]’s choosing, and we also began drafting plans for an Organic Garden on the MCC-Blue River campus which should probably finish development next fall. Timberbred is having a meeting this Friday to draft more activities for us to get involved in. We’re just getting started!

Insider: What could schools do to promote environmental thinking?

Brown: They could do things such as starting an environmental science club, recycling programs, fundraising to donate the yield to local non-profits, organizing trash pickups even composting left over cafeteria food! Basically, taking any steps to expose faculty and students to the green movement promotes green thinking.

Insider: Is your organization still growing? In what ways? People? Projects?

Brown: Well, currently we’re searching for more sustainable forms of funding. Once we achieve that, expanding would be much easier; although I already have ideas as to what we could possibly do to accomplish more.

Insider: Do you have plans to continue Timberbred for many years to come, and will Timberbred continue to involve students in the future?

Brown: I intend for Timberbred to be an ongoing organization, it may even evolve into something I make my career out of. I would like for it to eventually expand and become a non-profit or something more advanced.

Find out more about Timberbred at

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