Youth-Led Renewable Energy & Energy Conservation in West & Southwest MN

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$123,000
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$123,000
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
Recipient
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Status
Completed
Start Date
July 2011
End Date
June 2014
Activity Type
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Grants/Contracts
Technical Assistance
Counties Affected
Watonwan
Yellow Medicine
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 08a
Appropriation Language

$123,000 the first year and $123,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center to initiate youth-led renewable energy and conservation projects in over thirty communities in west central and southwest Minnesota.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$123,000
Other Funds Leveraged
$24,000
Direct expenses
$123,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.42
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, First Special Session, Chp. 2, Art.3, Sec. 2, Subd. 08a
Appropriation Language

$123,000 the first year and $123,000 the second year are from the trust fund to the commissioner of natural resources for an agreement with Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center to initiate youth-led renewable energy and conservation projects in over thirty communities in west central and southwest Minnesota.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$123,000
Direct expenses
$123,000
Number of full time equivalents funded
2.42
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on "Final Report" under "Project Details".

Project Overview

PROJECT OVERVIEW
Adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy conservation practices can contribute in a variety of ways to the environmental and economic health of rural Minnesota communities through costs savings and emissions reductions. Engaging and coaching students as the leaders in the process of implementing such practices provides the added benefit of increasing knowledge, teaching about potential career paths, and developing leadership experience. Using this appropriation the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and its partners are expanding an existing program called the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) to implement additional youth-led renewable energy and energy conservation projects in over 30 communities in west central and southwestern Minnesota. These projects will be driven by collaboration between students, community members, and local businesses and organizations.

OVERALL PROJECT OUTCOME AND RESULTS
The Youth Energy Summit (YES!) project was designed to mobilize teams of youth to address critical environmental issues and emerging opportunities related to climate change and renewable energy in Greater Minnesota. The YES! program impacts includes:

  1. 38 YES! Teams completed over 300 youth-led energy conservation and renewable energy projects during July 1, 2011- June 30, 2014.
  2. 1,134 students in grades 7-12 worked with local community leaders, businesses, schools, public utilities, waste haulers, and other partners.
  3. Over 44,380 students and 48,376 community members engaged in efforts to decrease waste and increase energy efficiency.

YES! teams leveraged over $625,000 in local support of projects which included: installing over 40 hydration stations, building three solar powered cold-weather greenhouses, installing waste oil recycling stations, designing and building solar boats and vehicles, improving recycling systems, reducing school energy bills, increasing recycling rates, implementing composting of school waste, promoting environmental stewardship through educational events, and more (please see www.youthenergysummit.org for project specifics).

YES! teams were guided by local coaches & mentors as well as regional YES! Coordinators who conducted 3 annual fall summits, 15 winter workshops tailored to meet the needs and interests of teams, and annual spring judging events. YES! Coordinators and team coaches helped students to organize more than 70 events such as "Green Week" and "Energy Expos" promoting sustainable practices in their communities.

The YES! project demonstrates that young people in Minnesota are ready, willing, and able to assume leadership roles and take action to address environmental issues and opportunities affecting our state and the world. YES! is a program of Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in partnership with Southwest Initiative Foundation and many local and regional supporters. The YES! program will be expanded to 40 teams during 2014-2016 in partnership with Laurentian Environmental Center and other regional partners.

PROJECT RESULTS USE AND DISSEMINATION
Information on YES! projects are regularly highlighted through the YES! website (www.youthenergysummit.org), blog posts, and Facebook updates. The YES! website received well over 45,000 page views from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014, with 65 % of these viewers being new to the site. Local media frequently print stories on YES! team accomplishments; the Warbler, a PWELC newsletter reaching 1,400 people, goes out 3 times a year and commits a page of each publication to YES!; furthermore, the YES! e-newsletter goes out 4 times a year.

Several communications and outreach activities have been done in relation to this Youth-Led project including three (3) Community Meetings, which brought together stakeholders to celebrate the team's successes and to evaluate the program for future improvements. These meetings served to both raise awareness of YES! teams in local communities and to highlight their good work. The program's funding partners are regularly updated on projects and show their support through continued funding and volunteer time. Coordinators submit Press Releases to local and regional outlets for Spring Award winners and other important stories.

YES! staff have presented at MN S.T.E.M. Network (2013), CERTs (2012), and Minnesota Association of Environmental Educators (2013) conferences. During YES! events, techniques such as S.M.A.R.T. goals have been developed and shared with the students and students have taken that information back to their Team to successfully plan and implement projects. Other types of techniques developed for use by Teams include; "How to Connect with Community Leaders," "Energy and You," "Benchmarking Your Projects," and Effective Meeting Strategies."

Of special note, YES! won the 2013 Minnesota Environmental Initiative Award and the Royalton YES! team won the state-wide 2014 "Red Wagon" award from the Minnesota Alliance with Youth!

Project Details
Project Manager
First Name
Anne
Last Name
Dybsetter
Organization Name
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center
Street Address
12718 Tenth St NE
City
Spicer
State
MN
Zip Code
56288
Phone
(320) 583-4488
Email
anne.dybsetter@co.kandiyohi.mn.us