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2014 Annual Appreciation Breakfast

Please join the Will Steger Foundation board and staff for our annual APPRECIATION BREAKFAST at the LEED certified Red Stag Supperclub! Share in our 2013 successes and hear our plans for 2014 while enjoying a delicious, local and sustainable breakfast!


Join Clean Energy and Jobs Earth Day Rally!



April 22, 2014, 4 pm


Youth and Veteran Environmental Leaders in Co-Mentorship

The Will Steger Foundation is proud to launch our 2013-14 Intergenerational Mentorship Program in partnership with the REAMP Network. This innovative mentorship model values both participants as learners and teachers, and supports 21 pairs of young and veteran environmental leaders across the Midwest. 


2014 Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar Series

FREE Webinar Series: Register Today For Our Upcoming Climate and Energy Webinar Series!

More information...

Join one (or) three Climate Rides in 2014! Support the Will Steger Foundation at the same time!

In September 2012, as a participant of Climate Ride, I biked 300 miles along California’s coast with past board member, David Bryan. It was extremely inspiring to be surrounded by so many other people passionate about climate change solutions and to hear from other leaders in the field. 


Youth Voices of Change: Climate Change Video Contest

The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Climate change is the environmental issue of our time and we believe youth have the power to make real change.

Read More

2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education

August 4-6, 2014Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN 

The Midwest’s climate change education event of the year; come to the 2014 Summer Institute.

More Info...

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Education Emerging Leaders Policy

Most Recent Posts

  • Spotlight on an Emerging Leader: Bryn Shank, YEA! MN Co-Chair
    Spotlight on an Emerging Leader: Bryn Shank, YEA! MN Co-Chair

    Bryn has been a driving force in YEA! MN since he joined the program two years ago as a sophomore at Central High School in St Paul. His campus earth club, Roots & Shoots, had a long legacy of success, including institutionalizing school-wide recycling and composting. But when the seniors graduated, Bryn found himself pretty much alone to carry the torch. Still, he refused to give up, and has worked tirelessly over the last two years to rebuild the Roots & Shoots team and work to make Central a leader in sustainability.

    Written on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 21:56 in Local (Minnesota) Read 76 times Read more...
  • Spotlight on an Emerging Leader: Shira Breen, YEA! MN Co-Chair

    When Shira Breen joined YEA! MN as a sophomore at Minneapolis South High School, we knew we had met someone special. She was already highly engaged in her school and home community, working with her peers to launch a food shelf at South High, and starting a community garden in the neighborhood surrounding her school campus. Following a high profile racial incident on her high school campus, she joined Students Together As Allies for Racial Trust where she received the Underground Railway Award for Strong Commitment to Equity. Shira joined the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign last year, working to defeat the amendment banning gay marriage, became a Phone Banking Coach, trained volunteers, and held courageous conversations with people from every corner of the state. In 2013, Shira became President of the South High School Green Tigers, the environmental club on campus, and was elected to be a Co-Chair for YEA! MN.

    Written on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 21:50 in Local (Minnesota) Read 71 times Read more...
  • Energy Conservation Challenge leads to Student Empowerment in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Public Schools
    Energy Conservation Challenge leads to Student Empowerment in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Public Schools

    The “191 Battle of the Buildings” (modeled after the EPA’s national contest) was a challenge for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to reduce their Carbon Footprint.  Energy reductions (calculated from buildings that saved) resulted in nearly 9% in energy reductions for the district. 

    The MN GreenCorps program is a statewide AmeriCorps program, administered through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).  Member Jothsna Harris will be serving in District 191 for a total of 11 months, with a focus on energy conservation.  More information about the MN GreenCorps, please visit The MPCA website at

    Written on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 21:34 in Local (Minnesota) Read 31 times Read more...
  • Celebrate Earth Day!
    Written by eNewsletter
    Celebrate Earth Day!

    It’s April and that means it’s time to celebrate Earth Day all month long! We have several wonderful opportunities for you to get involved.

    Written on Friday, 11 April 2014 16:51 in eNewsletter Read 123 times Read more...
  • Why Minnesota needs a new renewable energy standard!
    Why Minnesota needs a new renewable energy standard!

    2012 was the hottest year on record within the United States. Many western states are in official states of drought. Climate change is now. Obama said this about climate change in his State of the Union address “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.  But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

    Written on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 11:14 in Local (Minnesota) Read 398 times Read more...
Will Steger Foundation - Home
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 10:47

Climate Lesson Updates: October 2012

Happy October!
We've had a blast the last few weeks with Bloomington Lutheran and Open World Image 8Learning 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.

Professional Development
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
At the next book club we will discuss 12 year old Pavan Raj Gowda's book Gecko Boy, The Battle of Fracking.  I had the privilege of meeting Pavan last week at the North American Association for Environmental Education Conference and was extremely impressed with his maturity and interest in raising awareness around environmental issues.  The book club will take place Thursday October 25, 2012 at 3:30 MT/4:30 CT/5:30 ET.  For more information email Susan Buhr, Susan Buhr, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Read a review of past bookclubs here.

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

Is Global Warming Happening Faster Than Expected? (Scientific American)

Published in Climate Lessons
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:36

Climate Lesson Updates: September 2012

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 MNMapresizesettle 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.

Professional Development

Join the Climate and Energy Not So Serious Book Club!  The next book will be Earth: The Operator's Manual by Richard Alley. This is a non-fiction book for a lay audience and would be accessible to high school readers and some middle school readers.  The book club evolved out of some informal virtual discussions between a number of us involved in climate and energy education around the country and is sponsored through ICEE:  Inspiring Climate Change Education Excellence in Boulder, Colorado. To learn more about the book club join the ICEE forum or email Susan Buh( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )  The next book club meeting is Friday September 28 at 2:30 PT, 3:30 MT, 4:30 CT, 5:30 ET.  All meetings are held online and are free.  Past book club summaries can be read here.

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.

Emma can help to bring Tolby into your classroom. If you would like ideas, support or a presentation contact Emma at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 612-335-5852

News of Note

Ongoing Coverage of the Drought

Climate Change in Minnesota and Trees

Watch A New Climate State: Arctic Sea Ice 2012

Published in Climate Lessons
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 08:42

Climate Literacy through Literature


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.

Published in Climate Lessons

MNMapresizeWe 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

Published in Climate Lessons

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.

Published in Climate Lessons
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