By Angelina Egland and Cheryl Moreau
Frontier Regional School, South Deerfield, MA
Editor’s Note: The authors attended the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit co-organized by the Hitchcock Center and Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Sanctuary. As part of the Summit, participating school teams are asked to develop a Climate Action Plan for their school. Here is a summary of the execution and implementation of their plan that was presented at the Mass Environmental Education Society (MEES) Conference. To learn more about about additional aspects of this Climate Action Plan, please visit this post. This piece is a contribution to Hitchcock Center’s Youth Voices for the Environment and was lightly edited for readability.
Hi my name is Angelina Egland and this is Cheryl Moreau and we are current eighth graders. When we first joined the eighth grade environmental club we never imagined that we would be here, talking to all of you today. We want to thank Colleen Kelley of the Hitchcock Center and Brittany Gutermuth at Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Sanctuary. Also, we thank our fellow students from other schools who attended the Youth Climate Summit and shared their ideas.
When we were at the Summit in November, 2018, we were excited to participate in the high school idea to reduce the school’s electricity usage at the middle school level. Our high school and middle school are combined. We were the ones to set up the timers for the middle school Chromebooks and we became the liaisons for the middle school teachers and their implementation so the eco-tools would be used correctly.
But we were so excited by how much we had learned at the summit and how empowered we felt that we wanted to pass down the experience to the elementary school. Why should kids have to wait until middle school to create change? And why not help others to lead change as soon as possible? We were so impressed by the Youth Summit that we decided to use the model of the summit to create a shortened version of a Climate Cafe at a nearby elementary school.
So, once we were back at school, we divided our environmental club of thirteen students into different groups to host each Climate Cafe in the different 5th and 6th grade classrooms. Our crew met with Brittany to discuss ways to be more effective in designing the cafe, since she had helped to organize the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit. We discussed the ideas that had worked for us at the Summit and how we could repeat that for the elementary schools.
Our first step was to provide the kids with local and environmentally friendly snacks to grab their attention and to create a goody bag. This also showed them that there are eco-friendly and local snacks. We created the goody bag for them to take home with simple but effective environmental tools such as metal straws. These goodies were followed by a fun lesson that had a game as its focus. We worked on our lessons and had input from our teachers to make them run as smoothly as possible.Click here to return to full list of blog entries. Or chose a specific Blog category below.