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28 November 2007
Jacksonville Teen to Attend Climatology Summit

Josh Morrison, a local Jacksonville teenager, is pictured here with Jonathan Herbert, a geography professor at JSU, whom Morrison mentioned along with the geography department in his winning essay qualifying him to attend The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Summit in Washington, D.C. as an Eco-ambassador. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star.

By Matt Kasper
Star Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JACKSONVILLE — Attending a climatology conference may not be at the top of the fun list for most teenagers.

But 16-year-old Joshua Morrison is looking forward to being in good company Dec. 7 to 9 as one of 20 participants attending The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Summit in Washington, D.C.

The conference will focus on environmental education and include a number of activities and discussions about climate change, according to organizers.

Participants selected for the summit, known as Eco-ambassadors, were chosen based on a 200-word essay contest that started in October and ended in November.

Freshman, sophomore and junior students were asked to explain in a 200-word essay why the environment is their passion and what efforts they have used to make the planet “clean and green,” according to a press release.

“As The Weather Channel we are trying to communicate the environmental message,” said Marla Hoppenfeld, vice president of public relations for The Weather Channel.

Hoppenfeld said the first year event is based on the Forecast Earth show which started a year and a half ago.

“We want to start empowering (teenagers) with knowledge,” she said.

The summit title is based on the television show Forecast Earth: This Week, a weekly television program on climate change.

Eco-ambassadors at the conference will collaborate on a series of public service announcements set to air on The Weather Channel network.

But the Jacksonville High school sophomore did not discover the contest by watching TV.

Instead, Morrison said he found out about it surfing the Web.

“I was just Googling, then I found the Web site,” he said.

Morrison, who is the son of Renee Morrison, assistant director of JSU EPIC and Field Schools, said he wrote his essay on how he has tried to help the earth thus far.

He said he mentioned his group Gaming Environmentally Educated Kids GEEKs in the Woods, which focuses on educating children about the outdoors, and how they have come together to work with the JSU Field Schools.

About a week ago, he said the number of contestants was narrowed to 40.

A few days later, Morrison said he was notified he would be one of the 20.

The opportunity to meet with “powerful people” who can make environmental changes is one of the things he said he is looking forward to, along with learning more about how global warming affects weather.

Jonathan Herbert, a geography professor at JSU, said he was happy to learn Morrison mentioned him and the geography department in his essay.

“I was just impressed to see that he had won, “he said.

Renee Morrison said she is proud to see her son putting himself in a position that can influence people his age in the future.

“I’m seeing him and he’s pretty humble about it,” she said.

“He knows he’s part of his team and speaking for his generation.”

In the meantime, Morrison said he is anxiously awaiting the trip:

“I haven’t even received my itinerary yet.”

About Matthew Kasper

Matthew Kasper covers Jacksonville, Piedmont, Ohatchee and Alexandria for the Star.

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