On October 1st, the Arrowhead region of Minnesota had their Fifth Annual Youth Eco Solutions! Fall Summit at the Laurentian Environmental Center. Of the three teams in the region, only one was able to make it to the event. The team from Carlton, MN may have been the only one, but they brought some students that were ready to find new solutions to problems in their school. While we only had one team come to the event, we had some great conversations and sparked new ideas for different projects that they were interested in for this upcoming year. Our day was filled with three speakers that each gave us some wonderful information and gave the students some inspiration for the new year.
To begin the morning off, Diana Siebels from Waste Management said a few words to the students. Diana has been a state judge for the YES! competition and she announced that Waste Management was partnering with YES! this year for the tune of $5,000 dollars. We are very thankful for Diana and all the support we have received from Waste Management. She told the students no matter what project they will work on this year, to make sure they have fun and do their best work. Then we had Emily Nelson from Northern St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District (NSLCSWCD) present on AIS or better known as Aquatic Invasive Species. The students learned what different types of AIS were present in northern MN lakes and what they looked like. They also learned why they were a threat to all of lakes here in Minnesota. After our AIS talk, we moved on down to the lake to try out the equipment that Emily brought with her. Emily brought Secci Disks, Van Dorn Water Samplers, and throwable rake head tools. These tools were used to locate AIS, or to test the quality or purity of our Arrowhead Lake. The Laurentian Environmental Center lent some equipment to help test different aspects of the lake. There were tools to see the levels of Phosphates, Nitrates, pH, and Dissolved Oxygen levels.
When these activities concluded, lunch was served and the students worked to have as little food waste as possible. Our last speaker was Jenna Totz from Climate Generation. Jenna spoke on Climate Change and the science and facts behind climate change. A lot of the students had met Jenna before at their Climate Convening in Carlton last year, and it is always good to further that partnership. After lunch, we had talked about which projects had interested them the most, and we continued this conversation with Jenna to see how we could accomplish these projects. Jenna brought us great information and for those that did not know a lot about climate change, it seemed to sink in for them and it strengthened those who were up to date with the information. All our speakers lent us their expertise and we could not be more thankful for lending us their time to come all the way up to Britt, MN.
In conclusion, after a great day of learning more about our environment and our world, the students from Carlton left the YES! Fall Summit more energized than ever. When the team found out that they were the only team coming today, one of the students said the following: “I guess we will have to save the world all by ourselves.” While we only had a small team come to the Fall Summit, we had some big ideas come out of the team for the new year and I cannot wait to see what everyone does this year.