122 youth and teachers from 14 area schools attended a 2-day leadership training on being environmental stewards at Frost Valley YMCA, Claryville, NY on October 9-10, 2018. The summit was organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County and an advisory group of science teachers and students from South Kortright and Margaretville Central Schools, teachers from Andes School and Manhattan Country School, The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program, with summit funders: the Catskill Watershed Corporation, NYC DEP, Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District and Frost Valley.
Danielle Eiseman, Program Manager of Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, started off the summit with a keynote presentation about youth being the future leaders in a changing climate. Morning and afternoon workshops included Understanding Solar, Geoengineering the Planet, How Mushrooms Will Save the World, Theater Art Survival Camp, Sustainable Bedroom Furniture, Home Heating, Composting Big & Small, and What’s Your Climate Story?
Youth enjoyed thought provoking and team building activities presented by Kurt Hahn Expeditionary School in Brooklyn and then watched a documentary about the health and environmental effects of bottled water called Tapped. The evening ended with a bonfire and s’mores by the lake.
Day Two started with a poster session featuring school environmental projects and area organizations and businesses focusing on climate change. Students from the Adirondacks next presented the Climate Action Plan for each school to plan ways to make a change in their school and community. School developed action plans focusing on composting, recycling, reducing single use plastic beverage containers, and solar energy.
“I thoroughly enjoyed every activity available to me,” commented one student participant. “We look forward to planning another successful Catskills Youth Climate Summit in 2019,” added Jeanne Darling, Executive Director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.”