Western Mass Youth Climate Summit: Spreading Inspiration and Passion
December 14, 2023
The 7th annual Western Mass Youth Climate Summit took place on Monday, November 6 at the Springfield Museums.
Eleven schools from all four counties in Mass Audubon’s West Region participated in youth-led climate solution planning and took home Climate Action Plans. These students will be supported by Mass Audubon Youth Climate Leadership youth leaders and adult mentors to implement these plans throughout the school year.
Youth Leaders planned every aspect of the day, from opening sessions designed to help young people find their activist style (choosing from organizer, advocate, rebel, or caretaker), to the skill-building sessions led by partners, including: Springfield’s Healthy Air Network; Undaunted K–12 (a group of educators moving schools to be carbon neutral); Mass Audubon’s Advocacy Department; and indigenous educators from Ohketeau Cultural Center/No Loose Braids.
Morgan Brown-McNeil, who has been helping to organize these Summits for 4 years—starting when they were 12 years old—describes the yearly event as an anchor: “The Summits remind me why I care, why I’m doing what I’m doing! They are not only a way to spread awareness, but a way to spread inspiration and passion through the community of youth that we have built over the past 7 years. I’m doing this work because my generation grew up in the midst of this crisis, we grew up knowing how much we had to lose, and we grew up being told that it was our job to fix it.”
Expanding Our Impact
The turnout was phenomenal with 130 middle and high school students from diverse social, economic, and racial backgrounds. This was the first year Springfield schools attended, a sign that teachers and school administrators are recognizing our commitment to the city as we expand our nature and science-based programming in Springfield’s elementary, middle, and high schools.
Youth Climate Leadership Program
These summits, part of Mass Audubon’s Youth Climate Leadership Program, encourage youth-led, action-oriented climate action aimed at creating a space for learning, conversation, networking, and climate solutions.