Invitation to Join Other Science Centers in Creating the Next Generation of Sustainability Leaders

February 24, 2015

A shared model for implementation by science centers

ASTC and The Wild Center have teamed up to share a successful program format designed to target your region’s high school and college students. This effort is based on a successful model developed by The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York over the last six years and recently recognized by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as a highly effective model that educates and motivates this critical age group. A summit with approximately 200 attendees can impact over 20,000 students, with the potential of a huge ripple effect on their families and communities.

Encouraged by U.S. government leaders and interest by other science centers, our collective goal is to share this convening program format at no cost and support the development of at least 10 Youth Climate Summits across the international science museum community in 2015. We will offer all the organizational tools you will need along with connections to scientific experts in your region facilitated by The University Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Some schools have found that scheduling whole school assemblies by the nationally recognized Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) help motivate the entire student body and help advance the goals articulated in the team’s Climate Action Plan.

Climate literacy education continues to be an urgent issue and this program format allows for science centers to join in the international effort. Youth Climate Summits have been found to be powerful vehicles for inspiration, learning, community engagement, and youth leadership development. Climate literacy with a focus on local climate impacts and solutions is a key component of the Youth Climate Summit. The project-based learning surrounding the creation of a unique, student-driven sustainability and Climate Action Plan promotes leadership skills applicable, and the tools necessary for, a 21st Century workforce.

ASTC is planning a related and coordinated event at COP21 in Paris to highlight student action from participating Summits. Science centers and schools will have the option to stream this event live in early December 2015.

A web-based toolkit has been developed to share program format details: www.wildcenter.org/thrive-together/youth-climate-program/adirondack-youth-climate-summit-toolkit-thrive

This short video provides an overview of the program: youtu.be/JB5CC-q0-HU.

In 2013 Mountain Lake PBS and Bright Blue EcoMedia created a documentary – The Resilient Ones: A Generation Takes on Climate Change – about the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. The trailer can be viewed here: climatechange.mountainlake.org/2014/04/full-length-trailer/.

The Wild Center stands ready to support others in implementing this program format. As we learn of others working on their summits we share information and creative ideas across our network of informal educators. For more information contact Jen Kretser, Director of Programs at The Wild Center, at (518) 524-5105 x138 or by email at jkretser@wildcenter.org.