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Project Information

July 1-8

THEME:  Following Nature's Design

Project Requirements

The theme Following Nature's Design is encouraging delegations to choose topics that lead to projects that enhance the communities in which you live.  Each team should choose a complex issue, problem, or challenge in your community or region that requires Research and Academic Study.  Delegations need to develop at least one Partnership with an organization or community partner to learn more about the project and/or to help develop and implement solutions.  As solutions develop, delegations must take on and document an Advocacy Role to change behaviors or spread awareness of your topic of study within your community.  


Reminder:  Please keep track of all hours your teams spends working on projects.  

We want a record of those hours.

Below are sub-themes to consider:

Food Systems

Access to nutritious and healthy food important for all humans on earth.  However, because of our food systems there are many issues relating to the health of humans and the environment.


Your project should explore challenges relevant to you and offer realistic and sustainable solutions while exploring and connecting to systems and processes found in nature.

Natural Resource Management

How we manage water, air, the land around us, minerals, and other natural resources greatly influences our quality of life.  

Whether it be outdoor recreation management, eco-tourism, or saving endangered or threatened species and/or habitats, your project should explore the intricate cycles of life so that it may be sustained and enjoyed by all.



Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing 

physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.


 Project should seek sustainable practices and outcomes that are innovative by design. 


Project Specifics

Participants must form a partnership with an organization within their community.  Together, participants and organizations must collaboratively engage in an activity that enhances their local community.  


Project ideas:  See ideas in the sub-themes below.


NOTE:  Begin collaborating with potential partners right away.  Doing so will increase project efficiency.


Recommended Process for Participants:


Step One:  Find Your Topic (October-November)

  • Identify environmental issues/problems, threats or impairments in your community.

  • The focus of this step is to have students accurately, comprehensively, and scientifically assess the conditions of an area so that their subsequent work addresses a genuine threat or problem.  

  • It may be necessary to collect scientific data to support your inventory  (To collect scientific data, students may need to take species inventories, water quality sampling, or other quantitative measurements.  Additionally, it may be important to seek the advice of specialists and professionals.)


Step Two:  Select Your Topic With An Outcome In Mind (November)

  • Use a decision-making process that supports a teamwork ethic.

  • Select at least one impairment or threat to be the focus of your project with some innovative solutions in mind.

  • This will become your project focus.


Step Three:  Research Your Topic In Depth (November-December+)

  • Identify the human behaviors, policies, laws and regulations, current management practices, best practices, historical information, causes, effects, etc. related to the problem.

  • Identify key players (specialists, professionals, policy makers, etc.) regarding the problem to contact them for additional information – before you draw conclusions, ask questions.

  • Describe a variety of community opinions about the problem.

  • Based on what you have discovered from above, develop a recommendation for improving a policy or practice.


Step Four:  Decide What To Do (December-January)

  • Develop and use criteria for selecting a strategy for this project.

  • Use a decision-making process that supports a teamwork ethic.

  • Select one strategy to be used when carrying out the project.

  • The goal here is to develop a list of strategies for bringing about lasting change to the selected problem or threat.

  • Include this with your research and submit it to the coordinators.


TEAM CHECK: The Impact of Capacity

  • Do you have enough of capacity within your team to accomplish what you what you decide?

    • Any barriers now or that you foresee? Can we stick to our work plan?

  • What rules do we need to break to make this happen?

  • What’s the plan if we hit a speed bump? Is someone or something dragging you down?

  • Contact Dan Hoynacki voice/text 503-551-3455 with questions. Either Dan or Ryan Kinnett will get back to you.

Step Five:  Take Action (December, January through May)

  • Establish a plan of action with a timeline.

  • Seek an organization to partner with (share your research and previous work with them to encourage support).

  • Ideally, this partner should be willing to provide your delegation with financial support or sponsorship to attend the CEI Conference.

  • Advocate and spread awareness by engaging the public in multiple venues and document your advocacy with photos.

  • Remember to document all activities, including how many hours everyone contributes, even if some of the work previously occurred.


Step Six:  Looking Back and Ahead (April-May)

  • Assess the impact of the project (include feedback from your collaborating organization).

  • Decide what, if anything, has been left undone.

  • Consider what you would do differently if you were to conduct a similar project in the future.

  • Address whether or not your solutions could be applied on a large scale for the benefit of society.


  • Project Presentation:  Delegations develop 10 minute Google Slides presentation showcasing their project, research, and outcomes.

  • Project Write-up:  Delegations must submit a 2-4 page project report including research, actions, and all other project information.  With the project write-up, include 1o photos of project work and a group photo.

  • Project Hours:  Please submit the number of hours your team contributed to the project.  The hours should include time from anyone who assisted with the project, even those who were non-delegates, and hours researching and service hours related to your efforts.

  • Project Exhibition:  For those wishing to share poster presentations, we'll provide a location at the conference to do so, though posters are not a requirement.

  • All written research should be sent to

"The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens.  If only 10% of do this, there is enough for everyone."                               --Bill Mollison


Some possible topics might include:  


sustainable fisheries, permaculture, irrigation practices, urban farming, gardening, pollinators, genetic modification, pesticide use, soil development, fertilization of soils, aquaculture, hydroponics, food deserts, hybridization, organics, non-organics, poultry, beef, pork, and other meats, alternative meats, super foods, agri-chemicals, composting, food service, farm to table, or other innovative topics relating to food systems.

"The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity... that's all there is."

--Gaylord Nelson

Some possible topics might include:  

water and watersheds, mineral extraction, fossil fuels, precious metals, outdoor recreation management, eco-tourism, logging, stream restoration, endangered species, marine environments, ecosystem  enhancement, industrial/commercial waste, air pollution, wetland restoration, rangeland, invasive species, biodiversity enhancement, benthic health, erosion issues, land use issues, wilderness, or other topics related to natural resource management.


"Sustainable design is about creating buildings as ecosystems."                                   --Ric Butt


Some possible topics might include:  

building design, city planning, blue economy, alternative energy, innovative water systems, community development, landscape and garden design, emotional design, eco-fashion, eco-art, upcycling, reuse, waste to energy, net-zero homes, flight systems, AI, bio-engineering, artificial photosynthesis, energy systems, household chemicals, building materials, therapy gardens, xeriscaping, heating and cooling systems, or other topics related to sustainable design.

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