Julie Blum, '15 (back row, center) with member of the Westbrook, CT "Energy Patrol"
Julie Blum, Bachelor of Arts in both music and environmental studies, Class of 2015, is busy finding many ways to follow her two passions. Besides having the opportunity to pursue a double major at Gettysburg College, she has been able to combine music and environment for the benefit of her home state, Connecticut.
A few years ago, Julie was invited to be on the Westbrook Energy Committee and was given the task of leading conservation education efforts. With great support from the schools and town, she implemented an “Energy Patrol” program in all three of Westbrook’s public schools. Julie wrote “Conservation Song” to complement a skit they wrote for kicking off the project at the elementary school. The young students embraced the project with great enthusiasm.
The final step was to create a music video. Julie recruited groups of all kinds – students, dancers, scouts, conservation committees, and town politicians – to “dance” to the Conservation Song. The video was posted on the Alliance for Climate Education’s web site and on Youtube. It was a fun and entertaining conclusion to a successful effort.
The connections she made with local conservation activists led to an opportunity to be a watershed assessment intern with the CT River Coastal Conservation District. This past summer, she explored and recorded data in Westbrook’s beautiful tidal streams by day and played in big bands, pit orchestras, and jazz ensembles by night.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recognized the awareness program with a “Green Circle Award”. At the award ceremony, the superintendent of a CT school system invited Julie to submit an application for an Artist in Residence position to teach conservation through music.
Also, the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority Trash Museum learned of the conservation song and video and asked Julie to write songs for an educational slide show to be loaned out to pre-K through 2nd grade classrooms throughout Connecticut. With little time to write and record the nine songs, Julie teamed up with her mom, Cheryl, to meet the deadline. Cheryl wrote the lyrics, and then Julie created melodies and accompaniment with a Casio keyboard. Of course, with jazz sax being her specialty, she threw in some improvisation, too.
CLICK RECYCLE TO HEAR "LOOK FOR THE BIN"
Finally, in March this year, Julie was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet with a writer for National Public Radio’s “Living on Earth”, Mark Seth Lender, where she played the recycling songs for him. He was highly supportive and suggested pursuing writing children’s musical theater, even offering his assistance. The possibilities for the future keep growing. You never know where things can lead!