Submitted By Jim DeVries, NE MN YES! Coordinator
On May 2nd four of the six Northeast regional Youth Energy Summit (YES!) teams competed in the third annual “Spring Judging.” Each team shared a PowerPoint presentation of its accomplishments from this school year, and had time for a Q&A with the judges.
The Wrenshall High School YES! Team took the “All Star” and “Goal Setting & Teamwork” Awards this year. This team worked with Blackhoof Township to construct a new and improved recycling center for the community. The team is led by their coach Chris Gustafson, who teaches industrial technology at Wrenshall High School. When he was approached by the township for help, the YES! team jumped at the chance to work on the building. The end result has greatly improved the efficiency of the recycling program in Blackhoof Township through a larger building and better protection from the elements. The team is also competing in the Supermileage Car Challenge on May 15-16, 2017. They will be entering a traditional fuel vehicle and an electric vehicle in this year’s competition.
The Virginia High School YES! Team who received the “Community Leadership” and “Project Impact” awards. Their project is to improve the shoreline and water quality of Silver Lake. Silver Lake is centrally located in their town and is heavily used by the public during the warmer months. They have chosen to do some shoreline restoration work on a part of the lake where an old skeet club was located. First they want to increase the vegetation coverage to keep sediment and other run off from impacting the water quality. Second they would like to discourage the abundant goose population from accessing the lawn and walkway through this section. The plan includes planting switch grass in a thick enough mat to keep the sediment contained and the geese at bay.
Carlton High School YES Team took home the “WOW Factor” award. This was presented to this ambitious team for the volume of work they have undertaken. The projects they have been working on this year include: updating the schools recycling program, educating elementary students about the benefits of recycling, composting cafeteria food waste and the second year of the schools garden project. Also during the month of April the team created an “Earth Tip” for each day and posted these on the school’s electronic sign so the community could learn some valuable information.
Judges for this year included Mark Olson, Member Services Supervisor from Lake Country Power, Brian Bluhm, Northeast Coordinator for the Clean Energy Resource Teams, and Julie Lucas, Environmental Manager for Hibbing Taconite. The judges were impressed with the efforts each team put forth this year. Brian Bluhm commented, “It was a difficult decision on who to award because all the teams did some amazing things.”
Funding for the awards this year was generously provided by the Operation Round-Up grant from Lake Country Power and from the Bush Foundation. The YES! teams in NE Minnesota are working hard to make a difference in our communities.