Youth Energy Summit (YES!) is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities.
We're excited to tell you that YES! has expanded and is partnered with the Prairie Ecology Bus Center! YES! has involved 10-12 teams of students from schools in southwest and west-central Minnesota for the past two years through a partnership between Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and the Southwest Initiative Foundation. As the students engage in energy-related education and activities, it has been amazing to see their creativity and knowledge at work in their schools and communities.
Through YES!, teams of students grades 8 through 12 participate in events and activities during the school year to increase their knowledge about energy issues. Coached by an adult advisor, the youth teams then plan and implement energy action projects in their communities. Projects are judged and prizes awarded for outstanding work. Teams are guided by informed staff from the Prairie Ecology Bus Center and Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and are provided with the knowledge, networks, and leadership skills to place them at the forefront of our region's future renewable energy workforce. Through YES!, students build leadership skills and awareness of career, education, and economic opportunities related to renewable energy, conservation, climate change and more!
The PEBC welcomes it's new YES! Coordinator for the 2010-2011 school year, Becca Bell! We're very excited to have Becca part of our PEBC team and what she can bring to the program.
Becca Bell is PEBC's Project YES! Coordinator
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to continue working with the YES! program this year through Prairie Ecology Bus Center and Southwest Initiative Foundation. As a native of Willmar and recent graduate of St. Olaf College, I have grown up loving Minnesota for the wonderful people that live here and its plentiful natural resources.
Through my work at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center this past year, I learned that we can join these two together to create powerful opportunities to both enjoy and preserve our environment. It was here I first was introduced to the YES! program and throughout the 2009-2010 season I assisted the program's coordinators with events, team visits and program development.
I was recently reminded of a quote "Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it." While the accomplishments of YES! are certainly not insignificant - at least 60,000 people were impacted by the program last year alone - it is comprised of relatively small projects when compared to nationawide efforts. But when I remember the second part of the quote, I realize (what so many of our teams already know) it is not the scale of each project that matters.
Graduating from Willmar High School, local food in our cafeteria was not a discussion that was, so to speak, "on the table." Four years later, when I returned from college, Willmar's YES! team had not only started the conversation, but had provided a solution through acquiring and maintaining a year-round greenhouse. Brilliant!
It is accomplishments such as this and so many others that have proven to me that we need not look any further than the youth in our communities to help us take steps towards energy conservation and energy efficiency. The work they do is indeed "...very important," and I am honored to be a part of it.
For more information please contact Becca Bell, Project YES! South Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-583-4775.
Project YES! Fall 2009 Update click here
Summary of YES! Team Energy Action Projects for 2009-2010
Click here to see photos of events!
YES! 2009-2010 is administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation, implemented through partnerships with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and Prairie Ecology Bus Center, and funded in part by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace: An Alliance for Talent Development. For more information, click on the links below.
Say YES! Put energy into our future! www.youthenergysummit.org
Eligible participants will reside within 36 counties of south-central, southwest, and west-central Minnesota. See www.mnrem.org for a complete list. For more information about YES!, visit www.youthenergysummit.com, email email@example.com or call 800-594-9480. YES! 2009-2010, administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation and inplemented through partnerships with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and Prairie Ecology Bus Center, and is funded in part through a grant from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace (MNREM): an Alliance for Talent Development.
Click here for flyer with more information on Project YES! program
For more information on previous Project YES! projects click here
Youth Energy Summit (YES!) Announces Awards for 2009-2010 Season
Springfield team receives top prize for their energy action projects
The Youth Energy Summit (YES!) team from Springfield received the Grand Prize Award as well as the Outstanding Teamwork Award for their efforts throughout the school year. The team is coached by Amanda Meyer and Jayme Fast.
MAY 5, 2010—A large group of orange-vested and boot-clad students and volunteers spent Saturday, April 24, participating in the first annual Redwood River clean-up and Earth Day event organized by the Marshall Area Environmental Education Team and the City of Marshall. The event also included educational exhibits. Local solar electric and wind turbine installer, Tim Lipetsky, visited with participants about the economic benefits of renewable energy. A group of students displayed a tub of vermi-composting bins, complete with red worms. Keynote speaker Paul Thompson of the Will Steeger Foundation and YEA (Youth Environmental Activists) Minnesota, spoke to those in attendance about the impact and importance of energy choices.
Many participants represented Youth Energy Summit (YES!) teams. This school year, nine YES! teams including 110 students from the southern half of the program’s service area undertook energy action projects. Their goal was to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities.YES! energy action projects were presented to a judging panel of 13 professionals, including representatives from business, economic and community development and education. Five teams received awards and all teams were recognized for outstanding efforts during a ceremony at the April 24 event.
The Springfield YES! team was awarded the overall Grand Prize—a cash award of $1,500—as well as the Outstanding Teamwork Award of $500. The team completed research and a feasibility study to construct the area’s first green roof and installed motion detectors in a locker room. The team is also raising funds to install solar lights along the Cottonwood River Trail. Springfield’s energy awareness efforts reached thousands of students and adults, educating them about energy conservation, renewable energy technologies, green roofs and more. The group worked to sustain and improve other projects including an elementary Energy Monitoring Patrol, composting of food waste, recycling and weekly energy news articles.
Additional awards included Second Prize ($1,000) and Economic Potential Award ($500) to New Ulm Putting Green; Third Prize ($750) and Creativity and Innovation Award ($500) to Windom Area High School; Community Engagement Award ($500) to Marshall Area High School; and Conservation Award ($500) to Tracy Area High School. Teams from Westbrook-Walnut Grove, Redwood Falls Area High School, New Ulm Public High School and St. James High School were also recognized for their projects.
Awards will be used toward team projects or other school activities that meet the mission of YES! Awards were funded by the Southwest Initiative Foundation and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. YES! 2009-2010 is administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation, implemented through partnerships with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and Prairie Ecology Bus Center, and funded in part by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace: An Alliance for Talent Development.