We are excited about all of the accomplishments of the YES! teams this year! Scroll down to read more about what each of our teams was up to this year.
View YES! Teams 2012-2013 in a larger map
- Built recycling bins that they then placed around their football field and gym.
- Collected 150 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
- Cut their school’s lunch waste in half by recycling milk cartons, napkins and plastic containers.
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC)
- Developed an impressive recycling program including e-waste, tennis shoes, milk cartons, and pop bottle recycling at some sporting events.
- Received a $2,500 Captain Planet Foundation grant to place 300 stackable recycling bins in their classrooms to encourage more recycling.
- Planned and hosted an Elementary Event to educate ACGC elementary students about recycling and energy.
- Continued to work with their school garden and sold some produce at the farmer’s market.
- Read an article about their school garden, “ACGC Students Cultivating Knowledge & Eating It Too!“.
- Researched various solar panels and are in the process of ordering panels to be installed on their school roof. This research included talking with local experts about incentive programs, funding opportunities, installation, building permits and city regulations, and testing for the best place to install solar panels.
- Sold CFLs that were donated to them by Austin Utilities to raise money to install these solar panels.
- Continued to coordinate their school’s paper, plastic, and aluminum can recycling.
- Went to the State Capitol with a community member to discuss how legislators are important to the energy efficiency and renewable energy fields.
- Worked on projects related to composting and energy efficiency.
- Collected and composted over 4,000 pounds of food waste from their school cafeteria this year.
- Educated their fellow students about composting and food waste.
- Continued to work through the FFA Program to provide education about food and nutrition for their community.
- Are in the process of developing their school garden program.
- Hosted their second annual Family Fun Ag Day.
- Developed a prototype solar cell phone charger. They are working to make it more compact and affordable so that they can sell them to their fellow students.
- Collected data on the amount of food waste produced by their school and are pursuing a school-run composting program. They’d use the compost in their school garden, maintained by their school’s FFA chapter. In order to inform the public about composting they made brochures about their composting project and what community members could do to compost at home. They are in the process of constructing their first composting bin.
- Purchased a hydration station that will be installed this summer.
- Installed 3 hydration stations in high traffic areas of their school.
- Placed new recycling stations around the school. They have been recording the use of the recycling bins on a weekly basis.
- Are working to implement an oil, oil filter, and antifreeze recycling station in their town with First Fuel Bank.
- Completed their well-planned Alternative Energy and Transportation tour of Minnesota which included a biomass plant, a solar panel plant, wind energy, hydro power, an ethanol plant, ships, turbines, dams and a historic gas station.
- They developed and edited a video detailing their tour, which you can view here.
- Made improvements to their school’s composting program to make it more effective (which included changes to the school lunch waste sorting system). This year they composted over 800 pounds of lunch waste and plan to use the compost in their school garden.
- Worked to expand their school garden with the goal of providing more locally-grown produce for their school lunch program next year.
- Installed another hydration station in their district (bringing the total up to 3) and continued to educate their fellow students about the benefits of hydration stations.
- Collected over 100 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
- Hosted an Earth Week that included activities for students in all three of their school buildings.
- They performed well at the 25th anual MN Supermileage Competition. These students successfully built a vehicle that was able to achieve 160 mpg during the competition despite some challenges with the electric start that impacted their fuel economy. Their coach was very impressed and commented “of all the teams I have taken to the Supermileage Challenge over the past 22 years, these kids were by far the most goal oriented, organized, best-behaved and focused of any I worked with.” See photos and videos of their run here.
- Constructed a 30′ by 48′ greenhouse. Students were an integral part of this entire process by constructing the frame, selecting the plants to be grown, and preparing the greenhouse for plants after construction.
- Students took plants home for their own gardens, sold plants to community members and school staff, and donated plants to the community garden for the McLeod County Food Shelf.
- Herbs from this project will be incorporated into the school’s lunch program next school year.
Lac qui Parle Valley
- Built a 20′ by 40′ passive solar greenhouse. Two solar panels will be installed on the roof to power the greenhouse fans.
- Plants will be grown over the summer to be harvested during the next school year. They are growing several varieties of salad greens and other produce to supply the local school district with fresh, organic food for students and staff.
- Worked at the two elementary schools to educate students and develop interest in their greenhouse.
- Provided electronic-waste disposal at a reduced cost for area residents.
- Received a CERTs grant to install a stationary solar array. They are working with the B3 program to measure the success of their efficiency measures and renewable technologies.
- Grew over 1,000 pepper plants as part of the One Vegetable, One Community project. This project aims to bring community members together around food and involved giving away these pepper plants to community members.
- Co-sponsored a screening of the movie Fresh as well as a community discussion about local foods.
- Participated in the construction of the Litchfield Community Built Playground. In addition to helping with the build, they will create a display to increase awareness of the recycled plastic composite material used to build the playground.
- Researched and prepared their school cafeteria for a change from disposable Styrofoam lunch trays to permanent, washable trays and flatware. This will save 129,000 trays annually from being thrown away and will save their school over $600 a year. This took a lot of time and effort on the part of these students. As one of the students explained, “at first our school wasn’t on board with changing the trays, but we met with people and got their input first and listened to their concerns. This helped them get on board.”
- Carried on their work from last year by installing a second energy-monitoring meter to allow them to measure the electrical consumption of their entire school in real-time. They are working to get this information out to students and staff.
- They did an energy audit of the lighting in their school’s theater and are in the process of using this information to acquire more energy-efficient lighting for their school.
- Minnewaska collected 150 pounds of holiday lights for recycling!
- Coordinated the recycling of milk cartons in all grade levels in their district.
- Installed two hydration stations and partnered with their school’s art classes to promote their use.
- Hosted a Black Out Day.
- In order to promote local foods, they harvested grapes and made grape jelly to use in educational events about the value of local foods.
- Have been working on vermicomposting in their school all year.
- In addition to their other projects, they are working to build a small passive solar greenhouse and a composting program to go along with it.
- Hosted an outdoor science program for 1st-3rd graders about the value of reducing, reusing, recycling, and refusing and local foods.
New York Mills
- Hosted a Black Out Day at their school.
- Are planning a student-run compost pile, located on school grounds.
- Are in the process of acquiring energy-efficient automatic hand dryers for their school.
- They plan to start a student-run garden this summer which will provide their school with fresh fruits and vegetables. They also plan to sell some of the produce at their local farmer’s market.
- After helping their school research and decide which vendor they should use for waste/recycling, they are now able to co-mingle their recyclables, which has boosted their school’s recycling rates.
- Purchased and installed 3 hydration stations for their school.
- Produced “Did you know…Environmental Facts” that ran during their school announcements.
- Hosted an Earth Hour event with activities that involved all grades at their school. This included a Black Out Day and an energy-reduction photo contest.
- Developed a recycling program at their school.
- Worked to make their school’s program better and more user friendly.
- Investigated the possibility of heating some of their shop rooms using solar thermal air panels.
- Improved their school’s recycling program.
- Through distributing more recycling containers and experimenting with different types of containers, they have increased recycling in their school from 2 to 3 barrels of plastic per week and from 1 to 2 barrels of aluminum per week. Paper recycling has increased as well. YES! students collect recycling in each classroom every Friday!
- Participated in the GreenSneakers EcoChallenge as a fundraiser to upgrade and promote recycling in their building, collecting over 150 pairs of tennis shoes to be used/recycled.
- Promoted recycling awareness and encouraged participation in YES! at the Rocori Coaches Association Kids Carnival.
- Participated in the Earth Day Expo at St. Cloud State University.
- Where does our used motor oil go? This is the question Royalton YES! students asked their city council. The response was “we’re not sure.” The students quickly identified a way to make a difference in their community. The YES! team presented the First Fuel Motor Oil Collection station to the school board and it was approved. They have selected a site and scheduled an installation date for the oil collection station. It will soon be open to the public!
- They also worked to increase the effectiveness of their school’s recycling program. Through new bins and signs, they were able to decrease the amount of contamination in their recycling bins from 70% to 5%!
- After installing 800 CFLs between January and March 2012 (and saving 36,800 watts of energy) this spring the YES! team distributed educational fliers in those same apartment complexes to educate residents about how to properly dispose of their CFLs.
- Collected 665 pounds of holiday lights through door-to-door collection in their community and over 500 pairs of worn out blue jeans to be recycled into LEED-certified insulation, enough to insulate one average Habitat for Humanity homes.
- Hosted a two-hour Black Out event at their school, resulting in energy savings of nearly $60.
- Presented at several community events including Party in the Park, a Sleepy Eye Woman’s Club meeting, and at the Renewable Energy Markets Association.
- Installed 3 outdoor recycling bins at city parks in their community.
- Continued energy-saving measures in their schools, including their “Save it for Side 2” program to reduce paper waste.
- Held “Biggest Loser” locker-emptying challenges with the goal of recycling as much as possible.
Designed and conducted a four-week composting education program with the 5th and 6th grade classes in the Springfield Elementary School in preparation for the school composting program, which will start in the Fall of 2013.
- Purchased and installed a hydration station as well as water bottles with the YES! logo on them to encourage use of reusable water bottles.
- Worked on various recycling projects in their community, including collecting 640 pounds of holiday lights for recycling and collected blue jeans for recycling as well as coordinating their school recycling program.
St. Cloud (Apollo)
- Worked to increase the amount of school-wide recycling by putting a recycling bin by every trash can and educating faculty and students about what can and cannot be recycled.
- Their efforts have allowed them to remove a garbage dumpster and add a recycling dumpster to their school for pick up!
- Installed 2 hydration stations in their school in order to decrease their plastic bottle waste.
- Partnered with the MN Zoo to implement a cell phone recycling drive to fund rain forest preservation efforts.
- Member Kim Colgan spoke about the Apollo YES! team’s projects at the St. Cloud Green Forum.
St. Joseph (Kennedy Community School)
- Successfully asked their PTA for a grant to install a retro-fit hydration station in their lunch room. It has been installed and has been a huge hit. They plan to retro-fit another hydration station in their school next year.
- Created and administered a survey for their fellow students about their attitudes on recycling. They are taking that data and developing a plan of action to increase Kennedy’s recycling efforts. This will include building lessons about recycling at Kennedy.
- Had a Black Out Day at their school.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove (WWG)
- Partnered with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to install and demonstrate ways to increase water and energy savings in communities throughout the region. They educated over 950 community members at home shows in Luverne, Windom,and Pipestone.
- Worked with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary to recycle old, donated t-shirts into cloth diapers for children in need.
- Installed a wind-turbine at their school that will save their school an estimated $530 a year.
- Collected and recycled 2,335 plastic bags.
- Educated the WWG 7th graders about ways to save water and energy.
- Presented at the Clean Energy Resource Teams conference to over 50 business people about their projects this year.
- Implemented milk carton recycling at their Junior High and recycled over 48,000 milk cartons in just two months!
Installed a hydration station.
- In order to cut down on paper towel waste, they did a demonstration at their school about how to use a paper towel correctly (similar to this TED talk). They have had 530 students pledge to “shake and fold” and thus decrease their paper towel waste!
Yellow Medicine East (YME)
- Built a self-sustaining passive solar greenhouse to be used next school year to grow food for school lunches.
- Sponsored a community garden where the YES! students help elementary students grow their own produce.