Oct. 11, 2023, 4:10 p.m.

A note on the MEFE program from Joanne Deyo, LJEA VP

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a smile is worth a million. I sure saw a lot of smiles today, so I truly hit the jackpot!

I had the honor of participating in the final re-cap and high school student presentations for LJEA’s Multigenerational Environmental Science Field Experience (MEFE) this beautiful weekend in early October. While several Montreat College students and an LJEA intern recounted the weekend, it was clear the schedule was jam-packed with activities related to the understanding and appreciation of the natural resources in the Lake James watershed and environmental stewardship. Judging by the laughter and guffaws in the room while certain activities were described, it was clear that fun also ensued throughout all 3 days of the experience.

The high school student presentations were perfectly varied, ranging from a wonderful re-cap of all the activities, to a detailed description of live-staking trees, to a moving story/poem revealing the beauty and emotion of the weekend. Each student displayed how much the weekend meant to them, and smiles were abounding. In addition to students’ parents and family members participating in this capstone activity, others in the room included Nora Coffey, Park Superintendent of Lake James State Park, and several Board members of LJEA.

When I presented each student with their certificate for participating in the MEFE program, each had a huge smile on their face. I was able to relate some “fun facts” about each of them gleaned during the weekend, resulting in even wider smiles and a sense of accomplishment.

In addition to the college-age mentors, the MEFE program was led by environmental professionals, LJEA volunteers, and Dr. Dottie Shuman, a Montreat College Professor of Outdoor Education. Even after a weekend of camping during the first cold weather of the autumn, all leaders were still smiling as well.

What can I say? The MEFE weekend is a fabulous opportunity for high school students to interact with college mentors and adults with a passion for the environment, learn, share their experiences, and enjoy. Just let everyone know with your smile.

Joanne Deyo