Two MN organizations help students engage with city government: Youth Environmental Activists Minnesota (YEA! MN) and Youth Eco Solutions (YES!). Also working in this arena of city energy/climate action is the teenage organization iMatter that formed in Minnesota and calls upon young activists to secure commitments from local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Student involvement in Youth in City Government Day; student group engaged with city on a project; student/intern help with GreenStep action entry. Report under action 24.4 city staff efforts to support schools/youth to improve their own schools.
Student involvement in a city green committee / commission; separate youth/student committee or commission (note to what extent it focuses on sustainability issues); high school student internships offered in city government; formal city volunteer program focused on youth.
3 or more youth/students involved in an iMatter youth group working directly with your city council; 2 or more dedicated youth positions on a city environmental commission; ongoing connection between a high school environmental club and city commission that has youth positions; regular student interns to work on sustainability issues.
Who's doing it
Grand Marais - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Local youth involved with iMatter were instrumental in creating a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which was passed unanimously by the Grand Marais City Council in February of 2017. This action directly lead to the creation of a Climate Action Plan Coordinator. The iMatter youth were active on the Climate Action Plan Committee, which shaped the Climate Action Plan. The Plan was adopted by the Grand Marais City Council in June of 2019.
The city's Environmental Quality Commission has two student members (High School age), one of which is a voting member. The EQC meets monthly and advises the City Council on policy etc. that affect the environment.
Much of the work on the Green Step City Program has been accomplished through an Intern from Metropolitan State University, especially in the areas of B3 and solar/renewable energy options. we hope to continue to use this approach for this program
The Youth Commission's agenda is driven by the commissioners, but an example of a sustainability issue that the commission worked on was the legacy tree program that involved planting trees in the community.
The City does not have an green committee/commission however the Planning Commission works on many related green goals through the adopted Comprehensive Plan. The City has a student liaison on the Planning Commission. Although the student cannot officially vote their input and comments bring a unique perspective and is highly valued by the Commission. The liaison essentially represents the youth in our community.
The city added a youth position on the city recycling committee. This position is filled by a volunteer high school student to represent youth in talks about how to improve recycling participation and effectiveness in the city.
The South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task force is made up of students in grades 5-12. The group has increased participation in the city’s annual food drive, provided fun events for other children in the community (ie. A pool party, annual water balloon fight), and promoted community education on various topics, including sustainability.
Students from the Crosslake Community School were encouraged to write an essay entitled "If I Were Mayor for a Day". The students were invited to the monthly city council meeting where they read their essay and were presented with Friends of the City certificates. November 2017-January 2018.
The elementary school in town comes to city hall once a year to allow the 4th grade class to vote on a high emotion issue. Some students are council members and some are upset citizens. This allows them to see how the city government works in action. After the mock public hearing they take a vote on allowing the apple orchard to be demolished to build a strip mall. The kids really get into it while they are learning.
Our comprehensive plan also directly addresses the interest in educating our school children about local government. It is planned to do more interactive and educational events like the one listed above while continuing the several events we host at city hall.
Eighth graders at Dilworth Glyndon Felton Middle School participated in city government by helping to create a curbside recycling program. The students gave a presentation to Dilworth City Council about recycling and were involved in a city-wide information campaign that informed residents about the new program. The curbside recycling program started in October 2019 and seeks to increase recycling by allowing residents the option of recycling from their homes instead of going to the recycling center.