The Great Outdoors

The Mono Lake Committee, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to saving Mono Lake in California and advancing water conservation, is planning a new outdoor education center to teach school children and community groups about the impacts of diverting water from the lake's ecosystem.

The new center at Mono Lake will feature a dining hall, classrooms, administration building, bath house, and bunkhouses, and all will emphasize water conservation by demonstrating ultra low-flow fixtures, rainwater catchment, graywater harvesting, and on-site wastewater treatment.

Camp Arroyo is an environmental education center and youth camp in Livermore, Calif., that focuses its curriculum on sustainable living.

Each building at Camp Arroyo illustrates a different sustainable construction technology, yet all demonstrate ways to conserve energy and materials.

The dining hall at Camp Arroyo is straw-bale construction.

The bath houses at Camp Arroyo are stabilized earth, while cabins are framed with FSC-certified wood.

Another view of Camp Arroyo's pool and bath houses.

At Camp Arroyo, compressors for refrigerators are placed on the kitchen roof of the dining hall, seen here, to distance campers from their noise.

The Yosemite Institute in Yosemite National Park is building a new. net-zero-energy environmental education center to support the institute's curriculum. Seen here is a rendering of the camp's cabins.

In the new buildings at the Yosemite Institute, building dashboards will allow campers to monitor their energy use. At the dining hall, seen here, the refrigeration will be tied to the ground-source heat pump system to eliminate noisy compressors. A propane tank for an emergency generator will be buried underground.

No camp experience would be complete without roasted marshmallows, of course, which campers at the Yosemite Institute will be able to create themselves in a community firepit, seen here.

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