Written and Submitted by Ali Dahmes, West Central YES! Coordinator
On November 6, 2017, the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) Program announced the 2017 winners of the McKnight Foundation Project Funding. Funding was awarded to teams whose projects engage and empower youth to make an impact in their school and/or community on climate change through hands-on projects. Through a competitive process, nine teams received awards.
The project funding is a result of a larger grant received by the YES! Program from The McKnight Foundation in the fall of 2015 to bring climate literacy to YES! students across greater Minnesota. “The primary goal of this grant from McKnight’s perspective is to get the newest generation engaged and empowered to do something about climate change in their own communities,” said Aimee Witteman, Midwest Climate & Energy Program Director for The McKnight Foundation. All teams that received funding have a clear vision on how their project relates to climate change.
New London-Spicer and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City YES! Teams will be installing energy efficient hand dryers in their bathrooms to reduce the energy use it takes to make, deliver, and dispose of paper towels.
Moorhead Youth Educational Services and ROCORI YES! Teams plan on putting at least one solar panel up at their school to educate other students about the importance of renewable energy as well as decreasing the schools energy usage.
Discovery Woods YES! Team will be updating fluorescent tube lighting in their library space to energy efficient LED lighting. They will also be calculating the cost and energy savings by comparing past electric usage.
Glencoe-Silver Lake YES! Team will be designing and building a solar recharging station for students to charge their portable devices during the day. It will also be a demonstration that solar electricity generation can be utilized to lower our use of carbon based fuels for power generation.
New Prague YES! Team will be designing and building indoor and outdoor planter boxes to support the production of fresh produce from seed to harvest. The food will be shared with the High School lunchroom as well as classes. They are growing their own food to decrease their carbon footprint by reducing emissions from transporting food from non-local sources.
Sleepy Eye YES! Teams will be updating their outdoor security lights to LED energy efficient lighting to reduce the energy usage from those lights. They will also be starting a pollinator/butterfly garden at a local apartment complex that will educate residents and community members about the importance of increasing habitat for pollinators.
Last but not least, Wrenshall YES! Team is building a solar boat where students will explore solar panels and how they produce energy. It also demonstrates that there are alternatives to using fossil fuels for transportation!
More to come: teams will be blogging information and pictures on the projects in the near future!