We Have Exciting News!
Join the Will Steger Foundation for a very special breakfast this year!
April 29 at the Red Stag Supper Club.
Over 100 Minnesota Youth Lobby for a Clean Energy Future
On a nearly snowless early February day, over 100 high school youth from the Will Steger Foundation’s Youth Environmental Activists (YEA! MN) program participated in the Clean Energy & Jobs “Day on the Hill,” lobbying their state legislators and meeting with Governor Dayton to discuss how climate change will impact their future.
Climate Ride 2015
Registration is now open. Choose the Will Steger Foundation to be the beneficiary for your ride!
Climate Minnesota: Local Stories, Community Solutions
This April we will host two Climate Minnesota Convenings in Bemidji and Crookston that will connect communities through local science, stories, and solutions that encompass the broad range of climate impacts that Minnesotans are seeing now.
Bemidji: April 14 - Crookston: April 15
Summer Institute 2015
Join us for our 10th Summer Institute for Climate Change Education as we celebrate 10 years of climate science and climate change education. Hear from renowned keynote speakers Will Steger, Frank Niepold and Ben Santer. June 15-17, 2015
Most Recent Posts
Mike’s Climate Story, as told to Katie Siegner
Written by Will Steger Foundation
Cold weather has rarely stopped Minnesotans from going about their lives, and these days University of Minnesota-Duluth assistant professor Mike Mageau is proving that it also doesn’t have to stop fresh produce from growing year-round. Mike Mageau, assistant professor of Environment and Sustainability and Director of the Center for Sustainable Community Development at UMD, created Victus Farms a few years back to test out the sustainability and economic feasibility of an aquaponic growing system. Victus Farms houses fish tanks, greenhouses, plant and algae production troughs, with the fish waste fertilizing the plants and algae, and the algae separated into oil and organic matter, used for fuel and fish food.
DeAndra's Climate Story
Written by Will Steger Foundation
Having moved around many times as I grew up, I have been exposed to the humidity and heat of the low south and the artic temperatures of the high north. Even though I planted shallow roots in each of these places, I quickly got to know local people and deeply understand the culture of the place that I was current inhabiting. One of the most memorable experiences I encountered that really made me start thinking about climate change and the effect that it was having on me in real time was the record breaking drought in Texas.
David's Climate Story
Written by David Evans
Climate change is a complicated problem. As we’re starting to see, it will affect everything and everyone on our planet in nuanced ways, and the bulk of those effects will very likely be negative.
This is the simple logic that compelled me to focus on energy and the environment in my education. Growing up in Northern Minnesota, going to college in Duluth and living in Minneapolis for the last few years has lead me to appreciate the diversity and beauty of Minnesota’s natural resources, and I believe it’s irresponsible to squander these resources when we have the tools to protect them. While climate change presents us with a huge challenge, it also offers equally big opportunities to move towards a more sustainable and environmentally sound future.
Climate Change Adaptation Convenings
Written by Media
The The Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships are pleased to be hosting a series of five climate change adaptation convenings in Greater Minnesota. Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley will be joining WSF to provide region-specific climate information.
Exciting Opportunities this Spring!
Written by eNewsletter
March wrapped up our incredible Dine for Climate Series! We were able to highlight the farm to table connection, the importance of eating and supporting local sustainable, organic restaurants, and grow our local network of friends. At the same time, we were proud to receive a generous 30% donation from each of our partner restaurants: Birchwood Café, French Meadow Bakery and Café, Spoonriver, and Lucia’s. Thank you to our restaurant partners and everyone who joined us at one, several or all Dine for Climate events!
We've had a blast the last few weeks with Bloomington Lutheran and Open World Learning Community students down at Ft. Snelling State Park within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. Staff from the Mississippi River Fund, National Park Service and the Will Steger Foundation led students through activities around weather, climate and phenology and the students were able to do a buckthorn removal service project in the end. Our featured photo this month is of Bloomington Lutheran students hard at work. The field trips are funded through support from the National Park Foundation as part of the Parks Climate Challenge. See more photos and learn about the trips here.
We are happy to welcome our new education assistant, John Smith! John comes to us with a background in environmental education and most recently worked with St. Paul Schools as an energy and sustainability associate.
There are a number of great opportunities coming up in November including free public forums around Minnesota with Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy. If you are an educator in one of the communities they are visiting and are interested in sharing any of the work you have been doing with students please send me an email.
Keep up the good work! Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions or to share how you are bringing climate change into your educational setting.
Green Schools Workshops, Presented by the Minnesota Department of Education:
These workshops will provide resources and networking for K-12 administrators, staff, teachers and anyone else interested in making schools more healthy, efficient, and effective. You will see, first-hand, the benefits of green schools and learn about resources available in the areas of green buildings and energy, health and safety, and environmental education.
Dates and locations:
Workshops will be held at Minnesota’s 2012 Green Ribbon Schools National Award Winners
Monday, October 29: St. Joseph – Kennedy Community School
Monday, November 5: West St. Paul – Garlough Environmental Magnet School
Wednesday, November 28: Duluth – North Shore Community School
Cost: None - they are FREE! Clock hour certificates available.
More information and to register.
The Not Serious Climate and Energy Bookclub
Classroom Resources and Opportunities
COP 18 will be held in Qatar and we will be following a delegation of high school students from the School of Environmental Studies that are attending. Discuss the upcoming climate negotiations with your students using our Citizen Climate lesson plans, available to download here.
Thanks to a partnership with Chasing Ice, the Will Steger Foundation will be providing complimentary tickets to see a free screening of the film for educators, youth and key partners in our network. Screenings will be held November 30 through December 4th at the Lagoon Cinema, Uptown Minneapolis. If you are an educator interested in tickets for yourself or your class, please contact me. More information.
News of Note
Just Released from the National Academies of Sciences- Climate Change Education in Formal Settings, K-14.
Frontline will explore the shift in public opinion on climate change tonight on PBS.
Hello Educators and Education Partners!
It is hard to believe September is almost over. We hope you have had a fantastic month back and the school rhythm has begun to settle in. We were sad to bid farewell to Ann Benson, our fantastic Education Assistant, at the end of August. Ann was a great asset to our program and hard to replace, but we have been busy interviewing candidates for the position the last few weeks. Stay tuned for a new face in the next month!
The online classroom has been busily filling up with observations and photos of the changes going on in our backyards around the state. Ask your students to stop in and see what others are seeing and make a comment or two on their posts.
Please visit our summary of the Summer Institute for Climate Change Education 2012. We have some great videos of key presentations and power points to download from all of the presentators.
As the school year kicks off there are a number of great opportunities. Please feel free to share with us any updates from your classroom or educational setting. We would love to include them in future updates.
Looking for a few extra Graduate Credits? Sign up for, Overcoming Climate Change Misconceptions in the Classroom, a 2 credit Hamline University course taught online and Will Steger Foundation Director of Education, Kristen Poppleton. The course starts October 31, 2012.
Register Now for Teaching Outside the Box: An Introduction to Integrating Environmental and Outdoor Education in Grades K-12, Saturday, September 29: Sandstone – Audubon Center for the North Woods. More information.
Classroom Resources and Opportunities
Hey Teachers! Bring Tolby into your Classroom. Tolby is the kid friendly energy efficient mascot of the Minnesota Energy Challenge, an energy efficiency education program. The Minnesota Energy Challenge offers many free resources to bring Tolby to your classroom, such as a presentation from Emma, the Energy Challenge coordinator, informational handouts, plug meters, pencils and temporary tattoos. Tolby shows students how saving energy is important and fun at the same time. Through Tolby, students learn various ways they can save energy at school and at home. This program also teaches the basics of where electricity comes from and how its use affects the environment.
Using Tolby as a guide we teach kids about the importance of saving energy in an entertaining style. Presentations are interactive, energetic and include a visit from the Tolby mascot! He also has his own “For Kids” page on the MN Energy Challenge site where there are family focused energy saving actions, and links to kid centered energy websites. Tolby even has his own Blog that students can follow.
News of Note
I took part in the first "Not So Serious Climate and Energy Book Club," last Friday. The book club evolved out of some informal virtual discussions between a number of us involved inclimate and energy education around the country and is sponsored through ICEE: Inspiring Climate Change Education Excellence in Boulder, Colorado. The number one goal of the group is to have fun and get together (virtually) with other readers. Many of the books we have discussed reading are in the dystopian young adult genre- think Hunger Games, but we are also looking for stories with a more hopeful focus. Suggestions are welcome in the comments area below!
Our first book for discussion was, The Carbon Diaries 2015. As the title indicates, the story takes place 3 years from now in the UK. The main character is an angsty, teen girl who is a member of a punk rock band, has an annoying older sister and parents with marital issues. Sounds typical, except that a major "storm" as raised the alarm about the impacts of climate change and the UK has instituted carbon and later water rationing. The book gives a lot of opportuntity for discussion and reflection about what the future might hold and also offers an interesting way for students to connect with some of these issues in a fictional format.
We are happy to announce that Minnesota's Changing Climate received the Environmental Education Award at the 2012 Environmental Initiative Awards! Thanks to all of our partners who made this work possible!
As the school year is winding down and you are looking back on all you have accomplished this year, please share your thoughts on Minnesota's Changing Climate with us by taking our brief survey. This is your last chance to share feedback before the new edition is finalized. Thank you so much to those who have already shared their thoughts!
The first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards became available last week and we were happy to see the inclusion of climate change as a core idea. Read more.
Duluth News Tribune published Kristen Poppleton's response to Congressman Chip Cravaack's amendment to cut funding for the National Science Foundation's Climate Change Education Program.
Thanks for all your great work!
Kristen and Ann
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and many thanks to all of you for doing the great work that you do! We loved this observation describing the Spring posted to the online classroom today from Nikolaus at Great River School.
He titled it, There Is Life Among Us.
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.