Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Youth United for Environmental Turnaround by Margie McNally

 On Tuesday, July 17th I had the pleasure of representing Green Schools at a career workshop in Worcester. Over 100 participants, including 78 area youth attended the event to explore careers in green and environmental fields. The event took place at the North High School in Worcester and various towns and groups were represented. The initiative is part of "The 180 Goes Statewide: Youth United for the Environmental Turnaround!"  The Boston Youth Environmental Network and HRIA (Health Resources In Action) invited various professionals in environmental jobs and organizations to speak to students about future green jobs and opportunities. One of the highlights of the day was the presentation by The Alliance for Climate Education. Rouwenna Lamm put on an engaging presentation about the affects of global warming and really engaged students in taking action. It was very entertaining. 

Rouwenna is a Kentucky native with a B.A. in astronomy and physics from Smith College in Massachusetts. During high school and college, Rouwenna was interested in teen education and held a variety of positions educating youth about health, science, outdoor-living, and community development. She started working on climate change during her senior year in college after attending Power Shift 2007. 
Inspired by the youth and adults at the conference, she joined the newly formed Massachusetts Power Shift and planned a climate conference for hundreds of students and community members. She then helped the group transform into a network of student climate advocates pushing for legislative and social change to address climate change.
After college, Rouwenna took a 9-month internship with the Union of Concerned Scientists where she was working to connect scientists with policy makers and the public to increase climate education and push for legislative action to address climate change. She also helped produce reports on the impacts of climate change in the Midwest. Rouwenna is excited to join the ACE team and continue educating and empowering youth to fight for their futures.

The youth groups present were:
·         Branching Out Interns
·         Groundwork Lawrence Green Team
·         Holyoke Youth Conservation Corps
·         Lowell Spindle City Corps
·         Pittsfield Trail Crew
·         Sustainability Guild International
·         Toxic Soil Busters
·         Worcester Tree Initiative
·         Youth Conservation Corps US Fish & Wildlife Service
·         Youth in Charge
·         YouthGROW

Other organizations present included:
·         Boston Youth Environmental Network
·         Commonwealth Corp
·         Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corp.
·         “e” inc.
·         Green Schools
·         Health Resources in Action
·         New England Regional Council of Carpenters
·         Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM)
·         Roxbury Community College
·         Student Conservation Association
·         US  Department of Labor Women’s Bureau
·         US Environmental Protection Agency
·         US Fish & Wildlife Service
·         USDA Forest Service

 From the BYEN website:

In 2006, the Boston Youth Environmental Network (BYEN) was created to facilitate linking Boston Public School (BPS) students with hands-on science learning opportunities during and after school.  Today BYEN is successfully building a pathway for Boston’s youth from kindergarten through high school of formal and informal environmental education experiences, and relevant, hands-on employment opportunities.

To date, nearly 150 public and private sector environmental education providers participate in the network.  From start-ups to well-established leaders in the field, each organization sees the value of being part of a larger network, a network that elevates the conversation taking place between organization staff and BPS school teachers and educators during the school year, and facilitates the meaningful employment of teenagers in green jobs during the summer months.  By convening a broad spectrum of stakeholders, connecting them to each other in service to our urban youth, sustaining these connections through comprehensive programs that leverage individual organizational strengths, and consistently measuring and evaluating program impacts, BYEN is transforming the way that the City’s children in grades K-12 experience hands-on science and environmental education and related employment opportunities.  

Boston Youth Environmental Network (BYEN) is a comprehensive system of organizations providing hands-on environmental education and employment opportunities for children and youth.  Our resources and connections help individual providers more effectively engage kids in outdoor learning, academic achievement and career exploration.

All young people in Boston are engaged in high quality, culturally relevant environmental education and employment experiences that provide opportunities for outdoor learning, academic achievement and career exploration.    

To align existing programs and create new models of partnership to form a pathway from kindergarten through high school of formal and informal environmental education experiences, and relevant, hands-on employment opportunities.  

Theory of Change
An equitably distributed and networked system of services, grounded in youth development principles, will provide a clear, accessible pathway of education and employment opportunities from childhood to early adulthood.

Program areas along the pathway on which we focus include:
BYEN achieves its mission by:
Convening: for engaged leadership and a common vision
Connecting: to coordinate training, align services, increase capacity
Sustaining: to develop resources and public awareness
Measuring and evaluating: for quality and impact

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