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Stefanie Kivelin, base energy manager, holds onto the generator while Alyna, 10, powers the water wheel, as, from left, Jade, 9; David, 10; Donovan, 9; Arianna, 8; and Mylee, 10, watch to see how their creation works.

Photo by Mike DiCicco

Quantico Public Works holds first youth energy awareness event

29 Jul 2013 | Mike DiCicco Marine Corps Base Quantico

Nine-year-old Isabella already knew of different ways of generating energy, but when three members of Public Works Branch’s energy team dropped in on the Quantico Youth Center, she said, she was surprised to see that even a hand-held generator could light a light bulb or power a model car.

About 20 children, ages 8 to 12, got to build contraptions that ran on wind, water and solar energy at the Youth Center on July 29, 2013, during Public Works’ first youth energy awareness event, a model that the volunteers said they hope to build on in the future.

“It was awesome,” Isabella said. “I liked it because you got the chance to build things … and you can see how some energy works.”

Base Energy Manager Stefanie Kivelin, who was one of the volunteers helping to build the projects that afternoon, said she’d purchased the kits some time ago with the hope of taking them out to the schools, youth center and, perhaps, the child development centers.

“The energy team in Public Works Branch wanted to increase energy awareness for the students at Quantico,” including renewable energy and aspects of energy efficiency, she said.

Under the direction of Kivelin and two Navy Seabees, the children took turns building a wind turbine, a water wheel and a solar-powered car, and they also learned a little about home energy expenditures and efficiencies.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Diane Paddock, one of the Seabees on hand, said Public Works wanted a hands-on approach to teach children different ways energy is produced. “This is our first time doing this, so we’ll see how it turns out, and hopefully, with the next one, we’ll make it bigger,” she said.

Kivelin said she was impressed by how much the students already knew about different types of energy production.

“It’s kind of like a review from school,” said Christopher, 12, although he added that he had learned that afternoon how a water turbine generates electricity and how the sun delivers energy. He said he especially liked seeing the results of the students’ work when the machines actually functioned.

“It feels like a success,” he said. “And it’s like being a scientist, too.”

Evan, 9, said he had fun racing to keep the water wheel fueled but thought the solar powered car was a little slow. He said he’d learned that a generator usually doesn’t create energy, but instead converts energy collected by a windmill or other device.

Kivelin said she hopes Public Works can stage youth energy awareness events semiannually or quarterly in the future, adding that the next could be as soon as October, which is energy awareness month for the Navy and Marine Corps.

— Writer:

Marine Corps Base Quantico