Published on October 28, 2019

Youth Climate Action Summit Aims to Empower Local Students

Students brainstorming ideas at the 2018-2019 Youth Climate Summit

Stony Brook is teaming up with Mass Audubon's Oak Knoll and Moose Hill wildlife sanctuaries to host a Youth Climate Action Summit on Wednesday, November 13, at Wheaton College in Norton, MA.

The goal? To equip area high school students with the skills, knowledge, and inspiration they need to take effective action in mitigating the effects of climate change at the local level.

The all-day event will bring together a diverse group of approximately 200 students and teachers from Plainville, Sharon, Wrentham, and Norfolk, providing opportunities to build leadership and organizational skills that will serve these teens throughout their adult lives. 

Under the direction of Mass Audubon staff, and with support from Wheaton College professors and students, the participants will learn to identify, explore, and understand the most important principles and concepts of climate science. They will then create locally relevant Climate Action Plans that they can implement in their schools and/or communities.

Students will engage with scientists and educators to learn about simple lifestyle actions that individuals can take, such as composting, buying local food, and taking public transportation options when available. In addition, they will be exposed to larger-scale options aimed at lowering carbon emissions such as using wind and solar power, purchasing green energy, and carbon offsets.

Perhaps even more importantly, students will strengthen the connections they have to each other and the towns in which they live. By working collaboratively within the region, they will be able to better understand the influence they, their schools, and their community can have on the climate and—ultimately—the world around them.

The Summit is a bold and exciting initiative in response to feedback from local high school teachers who have expressed frustration about their efforts to inform students and parents about the realities of climate change. Indeed, a recent survey of 689 King Philip students revealed that more than 50% of students ranked conservation at 8 or higher on a 1-10 scale of their concerns, suggesting that they are looking for guidance.

We believe this one-day event will go a long way toward addressing their questions and needs.