Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City YES! team receives top prize for their energy action projects
MAY 5, 2010—A miniature wind turbine whirred in one corner, near a solar-powered toy bug that demonstrated the power of the sun. A group of young people displayed a tub of their locally-raised lettuce next to vermi-composting bins, complete with red worms. Photo displays and news clippings brought by other high school teams included learning activities with elementary students and construction of thermal solar panels.
These exhibits, part of Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center’s annual Earth Day Celebration, showed off results of Youth Energy Summit (YES!) energy action projects. This school year, 170 student members of 11 teams, representing the northern portion of the YES! program’s service area, undertook energy action projects. Their goal was to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities. The culminating event for the 2009-2010 YES! season, including an award ceremony for teams, took place at the Earth Day Celebration Sat., April 17.
YES! Energy Action Projects were presented to a panel of 12 professionals, including representatives from business, utilities, economic development, community development and education. Seven teams received awards, and all teams were recognized for outstanding efforts. The team from Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC) took home the overall Grand Prize—a cash award of $1,500—as well as the Energy Conservation Category Award of $500. The ACGC team’s main project was educating more than 400 elementary students about energy conservation, renewable energy options and “green” living. Among other activities, the group also reduced their school’s electricity consumption by 5 percent (with a future goal of 10 percent), improved in-school recycling to more than 90 percent, and distributed 274 energy-saving kits to households.
Additional awards included Second Prize and $1,000 to Lac qui Parle Valley, Third Prize and $750 to New London-Spicer Middle School, the Community Engagement Award and $500 to Eden Valley-Watkins, the Economic Potential Award and $500 to Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, the Outstanding Teamwork Award and $500 to Willmar, and the Creative Vision Award and $500 to Litchfield. Teams from Bird Island-Olivia-Lake Lillian (BOLD), Hutchinson, Morris and Ortonville were also recognized for their projects.
Awarded funds will go towards team projects or other school activities that meet the mission of YES!. YES! awards were contributed by University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Great River Energy and Outland Renewable Energy.
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, visit www.youthenergysummit.com, or call Southwest Initiative Foundation at 800-594-9480.