Transition Youth – YES!

WHO: Transition Youth from ARTech and Northfield Public Schools make up the YES! Team in Northfield.
OUR MISSION: Education on relationship between energy and waste, awareness raising, tangible and visible sustainability projects, collaborative relationships with other orgs/individuals in the community, creating an income source to provide seed money for future projects, and fun together building a resilient, sustainable community!
We applied for a $1500 YES! grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for our first Energy Action Project: Design and build 16 recycling bins for downtown historic Northfield, intended to reduce waste and maintain the aesthetic appearance required in the historic district.
DETAILS: Students will develop collaborative relationships with aligned organizations and individuals in the community, negotiate the design selection, and work with city government to gain approval for placing the bins in the downtown area. They will also negotiate with Rice County staff and teachers to integrate the education aspect into the schools. The net result to the community is reduction of solid waste by an anticipated 30 tons (2010 summer pilot study), a part time job for a collector/sorter funded by the sale of aluminum, seed money to fund further Transition Youth sustainability projects, and anticipated reduction in household waste and increase in curbside recycling as a result of the educational program. Students will build good will and social capital among stakeholders by considering multiple perspectives as we collect plastic and aluminum in our historic downtown via recycling containers that fit the historic aesthetic.

WHAT’S NEXT? In addition to the recycling collection, students will use the proceeds from aluminum can collections to finance additional identified projects, which include:
• Convert a diesel school bus to run on used vegetable oil for awareness raising and public transport
• Work with the Key’s film club for youth production of films for local television focused on Transition stories of individuals and organizations working to address energy, economic, and environmental challenges.
• Energy efficiency, testing, and retrofitting of businesses and residences – youth learn the skills alongside mentors while working on energy efficiency projects.
• Youth learn to build home-scale renewable energy projects (solar and wind) working toward development of a small manufacturing business and public training facility.
• Work with local food groups on the urbanization of horticulture, particularly focused on development of a community fruit and nut orchard.