Solar is an important part of almost every life process. That is according to Michel Vekved, outreach and education coordinator of the San Juan Islands Conservation District, who has been working on an upcoming fundraiser of Lopez to raise funds for solar in island schools.
The Solar de Mayo Dinner and Benefit Concert is Saturday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. at Lopez Community Center. There will also be music by The Field Boats and special guests Jaise and Kate.
(See Q&A below for more details.) Tickets are $15 per person or $45 for a family of four. Tickets are for sale at Lopez Bookstore and Paper, Scissors on the Rock.
Join islanders for homemade tamales, beans and rice with fresh picante sauce, no-host wine by Vita’s and Island Hoppin’ IPA.
Enjoy dinner and music while helping put solar on the Lopez School. Community Solar for Our Schools is a project to put solar arrays onto schools and solar knowledge into the hands of students.
“If we immerse kids into solar power through curriculum and hands-on experience then they grow up with the assumption that solar is power not just an alternative,” said Vekved. “Like many of us who learned to recycle, our kids just know to recycle.”
While these solar arrays will generate renewable solar energy, reducing schools’ electricity costs, the educational component will provide inspirational opportunities through teacher training, and hands-on experience for students monitoring solar energy.
“Putting solar into our schools is important because it will lower their utility bills but more importantly it will provide the opportunity to teach our kids that energy can be harnessed from the sun,” said Vekved. “As kids monitor the accumulation of solar energy, they will also watch energy use and learn to be more energy efficient.”
Four solar-electric systems will be installed at the school districts on Orcas, Lopez, San Juan and Shaw Islands. All the energy generated will be donated to the school districts, lowering their electricity costs. Bonneville Environmental Foundation will provide educational curriculum, materials and teacher training through their Solar 4R Schools Program to support our schools’ science programs.
“I think using solar power and monitoring how energy is captured from the sun makes kids more aware of their surroundings and more appreciative of the process and the possibilities,” said Vekved. “By utilizing solar power and learning about what renewable energy means we are showing that we value our environment, ourselves and our island community.”
“Your contribution can make an impact,” say organizers. “Help us raise funding for Community Solar for Our Schools.”
For more information, visit www.sanjuanislandscd.org.
Q: Who are the Field Boats?
A: The Field Boats are a band of four dads from Lopez Island. We all have day jobs and families with young kids. We all actually have a first-grader in the same class at Lopez Elementary. We are a business owner, a heat pump installer, a software engineer and a San Juan County employee.
We’re all also musicians. We are renaissance men of the highest order, basically.
Q: How long have the Field Boats been together?
A: Since 2012. We’ve had three different drummers along the way.
Q: What are the Field Boats all about?
A: Family. Our goal is to make really good music that supports our families in a way that most people don’t think of music being able to accomplish. The image of burnt-out dudes on tour making no money and leaving their families for months on end is the antithesis of our goal. We strive for the local and/or regional grassroots buzz driven by good music and mini-long-weekend tours in the Puget Sound area that our families can come along on.
Q: What kind of music do the Field Boats play?
A: Straight up all original Northwest heart-on-the-sleeve rock and roll with an island-based Americana twist.
Q: Why are the Field Boats Playing Solar de Mayo?
A: As dads with young children, we all believe in contributing to a better world.
Climate change has been a looming problem without many solutions for most of our adult lives.
Supporting local efforts that seek to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and start to implement renewable solutions is a cause we all can get behind. If playing our hearts out for a couple hours is the best way we can contribute, all the better.