On May 15, Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) held its annual awards ceremony at the Target Field Baseball Stadium. In attendance were three finalist teams, as well as Program manager Joe Dunlavy, Program Coordinators Deb Groebner and Jasmine Nieto, Former Program Coordinator Taylor Templer, partners from the University of Minnesota, and additional non-finalist team members as well as their family and friends. The weather was fantastic and the Twins played a great game.
The 2022 State Champion, and receiving $500, was the Sleepy Eye YES! Team. The team is comprised of both private and public school students who this year completed hundreds of hours of projects including monitoring water quality, expanding pollinator habitat, recycling, providing education programs in their school and community, and much more!
The 2022 Runner-up State Champion, and receiving $300, was the Mankato West YES! Team. These high school students completed a hazardous spill response plan for their school and presented an argument to the city council to create a climate action plan, among many other projects.
The 2022 Water Stewardship State Champion, and receiving $200, was the New London-Spicer YES! Team. Their team consists of middle and high school members who this year completed projects including storm drain stenciling, used shoe collection, pollinator plot planting, and several additional activities.
YES! is a statewide organization that challenges youth to engage in hands-on projects that benefit the environment and their communities. Projects are chosen and directed by youth with help from their Team Coach, typically a teacher, and many community members. Broad topics that YES! Teams work on include: water quality, waste reduction, local/sustainable foods, renewable energy, and habitat restoration. Major funding for YES! is provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as well as LYFT, Waste Management, Great River Energy, and small donors throughout the state.