2014 Annual Appreciation Breakfast
Please join the Will Steger Foundation board and staff for our annual APPRECIATION BREAKFAST at the LEED certified Red Stag Supperclub! Share in our 2013 successes and hear our plans for 2014 while enjoying a delicious, local and sustainable breakfast!
Join Clean Energy and Jobs Earth Day Rally!
CLEAN ENERGY AND JOBS DAY OF ACTION
FEATURING WILL STEGER AND EXCLUSIVE YOUTH SUMMIT WITH GOVERNOR DAYTON
April 22, 2014, 4 pm
Youth and Veteran Environmental Leaders in Co-Mentorship
The Will Steger Foundation is proud to launch our 2013-14 Intergenerational Mentorship Program in partnership with the REAMP Network. This innovative mentorship model values both participants as learners and teachers, and supports 21 pairs of young and veteran environmental leaders across the Midwest.
2014 Climate and Energy Literacy Webinar Series
FREE Webinar Series: Register Today For Our Upcoming Climate and Energy Webinar Series!
Join one (or) three Climate Rides in 2014! Support the Will Steger Foundation at the same time!
In September 2012, as a participant of Climate Ride, I biked 300 miles along California’s coast with past board member, David Bryan. It was extremely inspiring to be surrounded by so many other people passionate about climate change solutions and to hear from other leaders in the field.
Youth Voices of Change: Climate Change Video Contest
The Will Steger Foundation and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are sponsoring Youth Voices of Change to raise awareness about climate change and the amazing youth engaged in solutions throughout Minnesota. Climate change is the environmental issue of our time and we believe youth have the power to make real change.
2014 Summer Institute for Climate Change & Energy Education
August 4-6, 2014Audubon Center of the North Woods, Sandstone, MN
The Midwest’s climate change education event of the year; come to the 2014 Summer Institute.
Most Recent Posts
Spotlight on an Emerging Leader: Bryn Shank, YEA! MN Co-Chair
Written by Nicole Rom, Executive Director
Bryn has been a driving force in YEA! MN since he joined the program two years ago as a sophomore at Central High School in St Paul. His campus earth club, Roots & Shoots, had a long legacy of success, including institutionalizing school-wide recycling and composting. But when the seniors graduated, Bryn found himself pretty much alone to carry the torch. Still, he refused to give up, and has worked tirelessly over the last two years to rebuild the Roots & Shoots team and work to make Central a leader in sustainability.
Spotlight on an Emerging Leader: Shira Breen, YEA! MN Co-Chair
Written by Nicole Rom, Executive Director
When Shira Breen joined YEA! MN as a sophomore at Minneapolis South High School, we knew we had met someone special. She was already highly engaged in her school and home community, working with her peers to launch a food shelf at South High, and starting a community garden in the neighborhood surrounding her school campus. Following a high profile racial incident on her high school campus, she joined Students Together As Allies for Racial Trust where she received the Underground Railway Award for Strong Commitment to Equity. Shira joined the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign last year, working to defeat the amendment banning gay marriage, became a Phone Banking Coach, trained volunteers, and held courageous conversations with people from every corner of the state. In 2013, Shira became President of the South High School Green Tigers, the environmental club on campus, and was elected to be a Co-Chair for YEA! MN.
Energy Conservation Challenge leads to Student Empowerment in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Public Schools
Written by Jothsna Harris, MN GreenCorps
The “191 Battle of the Buildings” (modeled after the EPA’s national contest) was a challenge for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to reduce their Carbon Footprint. Energy reductions (calculated from buildings that saved) resulted in nearly 9% in energy reductions for the district.
The MN GreenCorps program is a statewide AmeriCorps program, administered through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Member Jothsna Harris will be serving in District 191 for a total of 11 months, with a focus on energy conservation. More information about the MN GreenCorps, please visit The MPCA website at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/.
Celebrate Earth Day!
Written by eNewsletter
It’s April and that means it’s time to celebrate Earth Day all month long! We have several wonderful opportunities for you to get involved.
Why Minnesota needs a new renewable energy standard!
2012 was the hottest year on record within the United States. Many western states are in official states of drought. Climate change is now. Obama said this about climate change in his State of the Union address “The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
For the 5th year in a row the School of Environmental Studies is bringing a group of high school students to the United Nations International Climate Change Conference. This year it is being held in Warsaw, Poland November 11th-22nd. The COP, or Conference of the Parties, will bring together representatives from more than 190 countries as well as members of civil society from around the world to address climate change.
Until recent years, the detrimental effects of coal and its heavy carbon dioxide emissions had been ignored due to the nation’s immense coal reserves, as well as its dependence on coal for energy. However, President Obama has now publicly declared a war on coal, striving to make America the chief natural gas producer in order to manage climate change, as well as to abate carbon emissions.
We were very disappointed to learn today from Patrick Fitzgerald at NWF, that Congressman Chip Cravaack of Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, has offered an amendment to eliminate funding to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Climate Change Education Program. This will affect great science-based climate change education projects here in Minnesota that includes the Como Zoo & Conservatory and SERC at Carleton College, an important partner in the Climate Literacy Network. In the Great Lakes Region NSF has been funding a Great Lakes Network, focused on bringing together educators, scientists and others focused on climate change education to encourage collaboration and decrease duplication of efforts. Funding from the National Science Foundation for climate change education is integral to the work we do: developing science based climate change education resources and programs and maintaining a nationwide network dedicated specifically to climate change education.
Youth leaders in Minnesota have been active to ensure our U.S. Senators protect the Clean Air Act. From Collegeville to Crookston, we came to the Twin Cities to meet with our Senators’ staff and share why defending the Clean Air Act is so important to us, our generation, and the state of Minnesota.
The Clean Air Act has been vital in protecting the nation’s health, and attacks on the clean air standards would weaken regulations on harmful pollutants such as mercury, ozone, and greenhouse gases. These attacks are part of an alarming trend of anti-EPA legislation. This is of special concern to us, young adults, because the energy and environmental policy decisions of today will affect us for decades to come. The problems caused by pollution, climate change, and diminishing natural resources will be our generation’s burden to bear.
The latest salvo against clean air comes from Senator Rand Paul, who wants to block an air pollution standard that cuts down on the amount of dangerous air pollution that is carried over state lines – essentially delivering pollutants that create soot, smog, and acid rain to all Americans. Senator Paul’s Cross State Air Pollution Standard would roll back public health protections and let polluters continue to dump their toxic pollution into our air, leading to as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks, and 400,000 asthma attacks annually. This resolution would be a huge step back at a time when we need to see progress in improving our air quality.
Image Credits: The Sierra Club
We brought this message to our Senators, sharing that Minnesotans want clean air and water and we want the EPA to enforce standards that will lower air pollution and its deadly public health impacts. In both meetings we were welcomed in sharing our concerns and told they would be passed along to the Senators.
In Senator Al Franken’s office, youth met with Alana Petersen, State Director for Senator Franken, and Al Juhnke, the Senators Agriculture and Energy Field Representative. Youth explained how regulation creates the opportunity for innovation and for growth in the green economy. We want to see investments in renewable energy, not oil and coal companies. Attacks on the EPA and environmental regulations eliminate job growth opportunities for young people who seek careers in this important field.
Senator Franken had not yet heard about the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule that had been proposed only days beforehand. Petersen and Juhnke spoke about the Senator’s commitment to making educated decisions on these matters and shared the Senator’s strong voting record to protect clean air. We hope to see that record continue when Senator Franken votes on this resolution.
In Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, we met with Greg Bohrer, Senator Klobuchar’s energy and environmental legislative correspondent. During the meeting, Klobuchar’s past environmental voting record was also discussed. For most of her term Senator Klobuchar has been supportive of public health and environmental protection legislation, but her stance has softened considerably in the past year. In April 2011, she voted in favor of two separate attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act, the Baucus Amendment and the Stabenow Amendment. We expressed our concern and disappointment over these votes.
We shared how the protecting the Clean Air Act will protect our futures. At a time when far too often industry profits are valued over scientific evidence and the health of Americans, we need Senator Klobuchar to vote to protect our health, to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, and to build the green economy in which we hope to work.
When asked how Senator Klobuchar plans to vote on the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, Bohrer responded that the Senator has not yet decided. He stressed that she is committed to making informed decisions and is looking into the longterm impacts of the resolution.
The impacts of a repeal to the Cross State Air Pollution rule are clear. It would block Minnesota from receiving between $650 million and $1.6 billion each year in health benefits and put thousands of Americans at risk of life-threatening illnesses.
The meetings with our Senators’ staff were overall productive and hopeful. Both Senators value the opinions of their constituents and the delegation of youth leaders communicated how Minnesotans want them to act--we need our Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken take a stand in protecting clean air and vote against the Congressional Review of the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and other attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act.
Youth Leaders Present at Lobby Meetings:
Lauren Snively from UMN Crookston and student representative to the UMN System-wide Sustainability Committee, Nick Moe from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Mike Wardwell from University St. Thomas Environmental Law Society, Natalie Tungsvik - MPIRG Student Board of Directors Chair from Hamline University, Cora Ellenson-Myers and Logan Bailey from the UMN MPIRG chapter, Tim Sheehan and Cole Norgaarden - Co-Chairs of Yea!MN, Leah Norman from Yea! MN, Alyssa Tucker from the MN Youth Environmental Network, Gretel Lee and Jason Bender from UMN Campus Beyond Coal, Timothy Den-Herder Thomas - Co-foudner of Grand Aspirations, Joe Kruse - Yea!MN Coordinator, and Christy Newell - Will Steger Foundation Intern and from UMTC EcoWatch.
Our Senators need to hear from you!
The Clean Air Act is known as one of the most successful public health programs in American history. With $30 in benefits for every dollar invested, it’s also one of the best investments Americans have made. Now, with a new tool, Clean Air Act Where You Live, provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we can calculate how two EPA safeguards will impact us here in Minnesota.
The Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, nationally, will save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma and heart attacks and avert millions of missed school and work days – yielding hundreds of billions of dollars in benefits to our communities.
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.