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Students develop plans to limit climate change

November 16, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer (jcollier@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - To wrap up the fourth annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit Thursday afternoon, most of the schools that participated talked about the plans they have for the coming year to help rein in climate change.

Students attended a number of workshops Wednesday and Thursday at the Wild Center, like one on the science of energy efficiency, another on getting more local food incorporated into schools and one on how to take an inventory of a school's greenhouse gas emissions.

Throughout the two days, students formulated plans on which areas to focus on for the next year.

Article Photos

Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake students perform a musical number to wrap up the two days of the fourth annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit Thursday afternoon.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

"That was totally inspiring," Jen Kretser, the Wild Center's director of programs, said after hearing all the plans. "Thank you so much for sharing all those incredible ideas."

The schools' plans are presented here alphabetically.

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Keene Central School

Students want to do an audit of the school's use of electricity, then present it to the school board. They also want to encourage teachers to unplug things like printers when they're not in use, and to make that easier, they want to install more power strips so there are fewer plugs that have to be unplugged.

In the long term, Keene students want to create an outdoor classroom, and though it's an effort that failed in the past, they want to try again to get solar panels on their gym.

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Lake Placid High School

Lake Placid students want to hold an Earth Day celebration again, giving out T-shirt bags and metal water bottles. They also want to look for ways to increase energy efficiency, giving teachers power strips to encourage unplugging things.

They're also interested in trying to encourage carpooling more.

The school just started using Casella Zero-Sort recycling based on the students' research and recommendation, and students plan to make sure that effort is successful.

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Long Lake Central School

Long Lake students had to leave early, but the Wild Center's Hillarie Logan-Dechene, whose children go to school in Long Lake, presented in their place.

She said they plan to turn their green team into a formal club so they can start fundraising.

They have gardening and composting facilities, but they are underutilized, so students want to work with teachers to start implementing those more.

They're also interested in holding a Power Down Day, when they limit the amount of power the school uses.

Students are also interested in helping the town promote energy audits offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. There was recently an information session on such audits, and local people didn't know much about them, Logan-Dechene said.

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North Country Community College

NCCC already has Zero-Sort Recycling, but students aren't using it right because they don't understand it. So green team members there want to work on getting the word out about how to use it correctly.

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North Country School

There are a number of environmental initiatives at North Country School already, but students said they are mostly led by adults. They want to see more student-led initiatives.

They want to have a green month, where students in different houses there can compete for who uses lights the least.

Students were also interested in finding ways to limit student use of printer paper and paper towels, maybe putting restrictions on when people can print and giving hand towels to each house.

They also want to try a no-meat day. Students noted that meat takes up a lot of resources like feed and water, so it's more green to eat vegetarian.

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Northwood School

Students here want to start composting. There's also a new classroom wing being built, and they want to talk with their headmaster about ways that it can be as green as possible.

They want to look into the possibility of using 100-percent-recycled toilet paper and hand towels for the bathrooms as well.

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Paul Smith's College

The Paul Smith's students who presented hope to install a metering system to measure the use of energy in each dorm. The college has a sustainability fund, and students vote on which projects get money for projects from the fund. The students who presented hope to get money from that for their metering project. If it goes through, they plan to hold a competition in March in which dorms compete against one another for the lowest energy use.

Students also felt that they need to help improve publicity on campus for the college's various sustainability efforts.

They also want to increase the use of local foods on campus.

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Saranac Lake High School

Students here said one of their biggest goals is to get more kids involved in their green team.

They also had an idea for a Valentine's Day initiative: Students can buy a tree for their sweethearts, and the green team will plant it for them in the spring.

They also hope to have a junk-to-funk dance, featured creatively recycled clothing.

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Tupper Lake Middle/High School

Students plan to look into the feasibility of getting a wood pellet boiler for the schools in Tupper Lake.

They also want to start a garden at the high school like the one they have at the elementary school.

Tupper Lake students also hope to borrow an idea from Troy High School, where students got special-needs students involved in the recycling efforts and saw great results. Tupper Lake students hope to incorporate students with special needs into their garden work.

The Tupper Lake Green Team also hopes to get a compost station for the high school like they have already implemented at the elementary school.

They plan to push for a Meatless Monday, and they want to look into the possibility of getting a water bottle filling station.

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Big finish

At the end of the two-day summit, students from the Tri-Lakes schools who helped organize the event played a video they made. It was to the tune of "Hakuna Matata," from Disney's "The Lion King," but used the phrase "sustainable living" instead. The Wild Center's otter mascot showed off the museum's wood pellet heating system and hugged a Smart car.

Then the students got together onstage and sang a song, with some students playing the guitar along with them. They also got the crowd involved, clapping along with each section doing a different rhythm.

 
 

 

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