Energy projects come to southwest Minnesota schools


Two school districts in southwest Minnesota have signed on to the YES! Program, administered by the Southwest Initiative Foundation, that offers hands-on energy action projects to look at energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota.

A recent report in the Worthington Daily Globe noted that Windom Area High School and Westbrook-Walnut Grove Secondary School will be working with the Youth Energy Summit (YES!) – a youth program that develops projects to increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.

In Windom, students hope to power the high school greenhouse with a wind turbine. Chemistry and physics teacher Jonathan Smith said the students are still developing what the project is going to be, “but their goal is to power the greenhouse here on campus with renewable energy,” he said.

In Westbrook-Walnut Grove, high school students are creating traveling exhibits, or pods, in order to bring different renewable energy sources to surrounding elementary schools. “It will be everything from comparing efficiency of regular light bulbs to fluorescent light bulbs to showing how much waste goes into landfills in a regular school day,” science teacher Pat Merrick told the Daily Globe. “There will be elementary programs set that schools can use to show energy conservation or alternative energy sources.”

As green industries and green job opportunities continue to grow, it’s encouraging to see Minnesota students learning about issues like renewable energy and energy efficiency at a young age. After all, green jobs may just be the jobs these kids are competing for when they enter the workforce in the coming years.