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Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
A tall white bird sticks out in a green saltmarsh. A channel of open water cuts through the center of the marsh.
Allens Pond, South Dartmouth

Fall River Youth Climate Leadership Program Visits the Massachusetts State House

June 10, 2024

Members of Mass Audubon's Youth Climate Leadership Program (YCLP) at Durfee High School in Fall River recently visited the Massachusetts State House as part of this unique and impactful climate action program. YCLP is a youth-led, action-oriented climate action immersion program aimed at creating a space for learning, conversation, networking, and Youth-led climate solutions.

YCLP participants posing for a group photo on a grand staircase inside the Massachusetts State House

Fall River Meets Beacon Hill

The Durfee YCLP group spent several weeks prepping for their State House visit by learning about the Massachusetts legislature and current climate legislation, researching Fall River legislators, and formulating questions.  

State House tour guide speaking to YCLP students

Upon arrival, the 12 students received an informative guided tour of the State House, where they learned about everything from how proceedings in the House and Senate chambers work to an up-close viewing of the Sacred Cod, a tribute to the state’s fishing industry. They then had the opportunity to meet with Representative Paul Schmid, Representative Carole Fiola, Senator Michael Rodrigues, and supporting staff members. Fantastic conversations were had about climate change and community action, such as how all community members deserve sustained access to the Taunton River. Additionally, students spoke with several legislative aides who are also Durfee High School alumni about their career path and what it’s like to work in the State House.  

MA state representative Paul Schmid speaking to YCLP students

Sam Anderson, Mass Audubon's Director of Legislative & Government Affairs, shared his experiences at Mass Audubon and as a former employee at the State House. Currently, Anderson is working on policies focused on protecting wildlife, conserving habitats, combatting climate change, and increasing equitable access to nature.   

After the State House visit, the Durfee YCLP group brought these experiences back into the classroom, where they dove deeper into legislative advocacy, including learning more about Mass Audubon’s policy campaign to restore horseshoe crabs to healthy population levels.

YCLP students on a tour of the MA State House

Supportive Collaboration

Mass Audubon is incredibly proud of the hard work and intentionality the Durfee YLCP group put into this visit. Their enthusiasm for community service and pursuing climate action in the South East is inspiring and was made possible by a network of supporters. An extra thank you to District Aide Tyra Leite and Chief of Staff Tyler Cotta in Rep. Fiola's office for coordinating the visit; Dina Abreu from New Bedford Rep. Tony Cabral's office for encouraging the visit and connecting us with Rep. Fiola's office; and Rep. Fiola for spending lunch with the group talking and answering questions. 

YCLP students posing for a group photo in front of a statue

Join South East’s Youth Climate Leadership Program 

If you or someone you know is 14-18 years old and passionate about climate change, the Youth Climate Leadership Program is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in this important work.  Collaborate with peers, work on a Climate Action Project, and gain advocacy skills—your voice can help create and support climate change solutions in your community. Community organizations and schools interested in participating in the Youth Climate Leadership Program are also encouraged to reach out.  

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