Climate Literacy

October 2, 2015
By: Jenna Totz, former Climate Change Education Manager

YES! and Climate Change

yes logoWe are thrilled to be partnering with YES! Youth Energy Summit this year. 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.” Through a pre-survey we asked students what they were most excited to do with their YES! Team. Harvest our greenhouse, improve the school’s carbon footprint, and teach younger students about recycling and saving energy were just a few of the many responses.

We are adding to their already full list of goals to increase participant’s climate literacy. On September 30, we gave the Keynote at the YES! Fall Summit at St. John’s University and discussed climate change, its repercussions, and solutions that students can engage in. Later this month, on October 14th, we will be traveling to northern Minnesota to engage the remainder of the YES! teams with the same presentation. In total, we will be reaching almost 400 students from around the state. It is due to support from the McKnight foundation that YES! is able to integrate climate literacy.


This youth program is great because it reaches all across Minnesota and these students are involved in action projects that are truly making a difference. Since its inception in 2007, the program has engaged 2,138 youth. These youth have worked with over 3,758 local businesses, organizations and community members to accomplish their goals. These projects have impacted an additional 107,612 community members and 69,719 students.

Throughout the 2015-2016 school year we will be holding four winter workshops to further dive into climate change topics. In the spring, students will take part in the YES! Spring Celebration to applaud the accomplishments they have made throughout the year: completed action projects, knowledge gained, relationships built. You can read more about YES! on their website.

YES Keynote1When you present to a large auditorium of students, you never really know how much impact you might have, but one of the teachers at the fall summit shared this quote from a YES! student, “My view was drastically changed from the beginning to the end of this presentation.  My parents have always said this is a hoax.  This is really important!” We are so excited to continue our partnership with YES! and know that the work we do is making a difference.