Community Engagement

The Future of Environmental Stewardship

ITC Partners with OU to Bring Camp H2OU to Young Scholars in Pontiac

Camp goers walking down a path in the woods
A student kneeling looking through soil
A group of camp goers with nets in a river

Camp H2OU

icon of a calendarMarch 10, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Catherine Ticer

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Curiosity, a gift of the mind that starts the journey of dreaming, discovering and understanding the world around us. Middle school students from the City of Pontiac will soon have the opportunity to heighten their curiosity and enrich their understanding of the natural environment surrounding them, thanks to a gift from ITC Michigan.

ITC Michigan is a generous sponsor of a new Oakland University initiative named Camp H2OU. Camp H2OU was developed by the departments of biological sciences plus art and art history, to provide a hands-on camp experience at Oakland University’s Biological Preserve. The Preserve is made of two natural areas on campus, together encompassing approximately 110 acres of forests, meadows, streams and wetlands.

Campers will engage in field-based activities including plant and insect identification, water quality monitoring and aquatic invertebrate sampling, and will photograph their biological finds. Time will be spent studying the preserve’s ecosystems and learning about the connections that exist between the Great Lakes, rivers and watersheds. Students will also learn how natural resources are impacted by human activities and the special relationship that exists between OU and their city.

ITC Michigan, the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country, is deeply committed to promoting environmental stewardship within the community and sees Camp H2OU as an ideal way to bring environmental education to young scholars.

“ITC is based in Oakland County, so we see firsthand the impact that Oakland University has on the local community. Through this program, area students will gain a new appreciation and awareness of the natural environment and what it means to be good stewards. That’s something that aligns closely with our corporate values and makes this a natural partnership,” says Donna Zalewski, director of local government and community affairs and philanthropy for ITC Holding Corp.

A centerpiece of the camp will be a design and printmaking workshop where the students will create art based on their experiences in the preserve. Maria Smith Bohannon, MFA, assistant professor of graphic design in the department of art and art history, will instruct the students on printmaking and design. 

“We want to get the next generation excited about nature and conservation and teach them about how graphic design brings their ideas to light,” says Bohannon.

ITC believes that students are never too young to learn about the environment and their role in sustainability.

“By reaching out to young students now, Oakland University is planting the seeds of awareness, curiosity and knowledge that will grow and inform the next generation of environmental stewards,” says Zalewski. “We hope that through this program, students will gain a deeper appreciation of the natural world and the role we all play in preserving it.”

Scott Tiegs, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of biological sciences, is thankful to ITC for bringing this important program to students in the community.

“We are really grateful to ITC for making this program possible. It’s going to impact a lot of students and heighten their appreciation for conservation, the environment and the importance of preserving our natural resources,” says Tiegs.

For ITC, supporting Camp H2OU is a way to build awareness about sustainability right here in their own community.

“Supporting Oakland University’s H2OU summer camp program is an investment in our children’s future and the communities we serve,” says Zalewski. “We are thrilled to help the university engage more young people and promote environmental stewardship.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can support Camp H2OU, please contact Irene Spanos at [email protected] or (248) 370-4915.

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