If future predictions of climate change are accurate it will be one of the most pressing concerns for children growing up today. A lot of curriculum material is dedicated to teaching K-12 students climate science, but educators find it valuable for tomorrow’s scientists and policy makers to learn outside the classroom in a more real-world setting.
That was the the concept underlying the Capital Region Youth Climate Summit, which recently held at the Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in Malta, NY. The NYS Capital Region Youth Climate Summit brought together students and teachers from high schools around the Capital Region of New York State to learn about climate change and develop Climate Action Plans, detailed policy recommendations, for their local schools and communities.
The Capital Region summit was modeled after the Youth Climate Summit held at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and combined informational sessions and seminars with smaller workshops in a fun atmosphere. National experts including Susan Powers from Clarkson University, iMatter, and the Sunshine Movement presented at the summit, as well as students from The Wild Center/Alliance for Climate Education.
Also attending the event was Congressman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), who spoke about the steps that are being taken by representatives in Washington to help address environmental issues. Congressman Tonko was able to hear directly from the students on their ideas for reducing the footprint in their communities. The Congressman is the co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and is a vocal support of renewable energy options and innovation.
For their Climate Action Plan, the team of students from Schuylerville won a gift card at the end of the summit. They will use the award to help implement their plan in their community. The team from Queensbury also earned a gift card to help with environmental projects in their community for having the most sustainable lunch at the summit.
The summit received sponsorship from the Stewarts Holiday Match, Brookfield Renewable, The Wild Center and Hudson Valley Community College. It was organized and coordinated by students and teachers from the Ballston Spa Central School District, the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries ECHS and Schuylerville Central School District, with help from The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.