It’s a two-day experience for high school and college students to learn about climate change, impacts and solutions, an experience that five members of the Schuylerville High School Environmental Club had the unique opportunity to attend in early November. At the conclusion of the Wild Center’s 11th annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, located in Tupper Lake, students walked away with a climate action plan that they specifically designed for Schuylerville.
During the summit, students discussed how to achieve climate-friendly goals effectively and learned about the benefits of becoming a climate-smart community in New York State. Through many group activities and critical thinking exercises, students shifted their focus specifically to solar power and the Schuylerville school district.
“Our goal is to make our school more energy-efficient and climate-friendly,” said student Olivia Stortz. “We’d like to start by getting solar charging systems in the high school and talk to the elementary students about solar power and why it’s important. In the long term, we would like to power the turf lights with solar panels. Eventually, we hope to have our school run on renewable energy.”
“It is inspiring that these young people have decided to work to educate the younger generation about the importance of taking care of their environment,” said Environmental Club advisor Emily Flores. “I am looking forward to seeing their solar plan a reality.”
Before creating their climate action plan, students had the opportunity to explore different types of tools and methodologies that would be helpful in promoting change, including: the impact of producing a documentary, public service announcement or film; the socio-economic disparity among communities and how that can lead to scarce resources; how art and poems can be effective in conveying thoughts and feelings about climate change, and strategies and resources to get youth involved in a climate smart community through up-cycling and reducing the use of plastic.
“The wild center does an amazing job at motivating and inspiring students to bring what the learned back to their school to create a more sustainable school environment,” said Flores.