A Year of Environmentalism

By Sadie Ross
Frontier Regional School, South Deerfield, MA

Editor’s Note: The author’s attended the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit co-organized by the Hitchcock Center and Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Sanctuary. As part of the Summit, participating school teams are asked to develop a Climate Action Plan for their school. Here is a summary of the execution and implementation of their plan that was presented at the MEES Conference. To learn more about additional aspects of this Climate Action Plan, please visit this post. This piece is a contribution to Hitchcock Center’s Youth Voices for the Environment and was lightly edited for readability.

The team from Frontier Regional worked to answer this question at their school.

This year, the Frontier Environmental Club, composed of 8th and 9th graders, decided to take steps creating change in the school. We hope that this will lead to further changes and inspire other schools to follow suit. This year, it all started for us when we attended the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit. This is an educational, 2-day conference that allows students who are passionate about the environment, to create an action plan to carry out through the rest of the school year.

The Frontier Team discussing the Climate Action Plan at the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit,

After creating our action plan at the summit, we came back to Frontier knowing that a) we needed to raise funds for our ideas, and b) we needed to use the connections we had gained at the conference to follow through on our action plan. To raise funds, we decided to order and sell “Frontier” water bottles for our projects. After this, we talked to an intern at Center for Ecotechnology (CET) and from her, we were able to gain both information about the realistic parts of our plan, and gain items to improve our schools energy efficiency. This included low flow faucet heads to decrease excessive flow of water and getting more recycling bins to encourage recycling at Frontier.

Via different organizations, we have had the ability to organize multiple energy and electrical audits to see what we can do to lower Frontier’s energy consumption. We are currently working to change our light bulbs. They are 64 watts as of now, and have the potential to be close to 10 watts. This is all part of our climate action plan which is moving forward.

The Frontier Environmental Club with school area assignments.

We have also completed many presentations to a variety of audiences this year. These presentations include The Salamander Fundraiser Brunch, Mass Environmental Education Society (MEES), a lesson at Agawam’s Cooler Climate Summit, a lesson to the 8th grade on water conservation, a faculty meeting about power-strips and heaters, and a climate change focused lesson at Deerfield Elementary. We also had the pleasure of attending a climate strike in Connecticut.

The quote that inspired the Frontier team to take action at their school.

Our club also purchased reusable drinking cups for the cafeteria, reusable towels for science teachers, and power strips. This has been a very productive year for the environmental club and now that we are on the planning committee for the Western Mass Youth Climate Summit, it is great to know that we will have an impact on other students hoping to accomplish climate action plans. We are excited to say we have even more plans for next year, some of which will hopefully extend past Frontier to make an even more significant change.

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