Each year, students from across central and northern New York gather for a climate summit at the Wild Center in the Adirondacks.
For two days, they attend workshops and keynote speeches, and they develop projects to implement when they get back home.
Jen Kretser is the Wild Center’s director of climate initiatives. She says projects range widely, “from carbon neutral proms to water bottle refilling stations to actually, you know, working with municipal leaders on developing climate action plans in their communities.”
She says the annual event helps give students an entry point into the climate movement.
“Young people get really excited about it because it’s a place where they can build community and have a way to contribute,” she says. “And it creates a sense of hope and agency around taking action in their schools and communities.”
The approach is so successful that people often want to replicate it elsewhere.
Kretser says that since the Wild Center’s first youth summit in 2009, more than 140 similar events have been held around the world.
And to help others get started, Kretser’s team offers a tool kit and provides guidance at monthly meetups.
“You can take the toolkit that we created, you can put it anywhere in the world, and it works,” she says.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media