Bishop, Polar Explorer, Scientist address Climate Change

Letter from the Executive Director

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Volunteers and WSF staff greet guests at the Chasing Ice reception. Copyright 2012 John Ratzloff.

When the New Ulm journal published the headline: Polar explorer, scientist, bishop to address climate change, we knew we were pulling together a diversity of voices for climate action. Our efforts to bring strong voices together grew when we welcomed Bill McKibben and James Balog to Minnesota this month.

This last month was our busiest yet: we successfully completed an eight-city tour of Minnesota with free public forums and hosted several screenings of the new award-winning climate film Chasing Ice. Meanwhile, program staff attended national meetings on climate literacy and youth leadership.

Thanks to your support, we raised over $10,000 on Give to the Max Day in November! Five generous donors each provided a $1,000 match. We thank everyone for making this day of giving so strong for us and for Minnesota.

Our Climate, Clean Energy and Health tour across Minnesota was a success! Between 300-500 people attended each event to learn about Minnesota’s clean energy path and hear Will’s own eyewitness account. Several forums included reflections on faith and creation care. Events included dinner with community leaders, students and elected officials. Participants signed postcards to their local representatives and Governor Dayton urging Minnesota to achieve the state carbon reduction goal of at least 30% by 2050.

Will Steger joined Bill McKibben’s Do the Math Tour, where Will spoke to his own eyewitness experience with climate change in the Polar Regions and encouraged strong clean energy leadership from Governor Dayton. Hear Will’s remarks here.

A week later we hosted James Balog for the Minnesota premiere of his new film, Chasing Ice. Chasing Ice tells the story of Balog’s effort to capture time-lapse photography of melting ice. Climate impacts are often hard for us to see, which is why the eyewitness account is so powerful. Through the Extreme Ice Survey technology, Balog could speed up photographs taken over many months and years, allowing us to visually see ice melting around the globe. The film is playing through Thursday at the Uptown theater. We encourage you to spread the word and see it!

We are certainly feeling the power and energy of the past month. As we look towards the close of the year, we take stock of the changing climate, which has hit Minnesota and the U.S. especially hard this year. But with the incredible energy, dedication and passion behind all of us, together, we can meet this challenge head on into a better future.

Please support the Will Steger Foundation with a year-end contribution!


Nicole Rom, Executive Director


educscreenshotNEW Education Webpage! The new education section of our website is easier to use and higher quality.  Quickly find our most-requested info in the menus at the top of the screen, such as “Curriculum Resources,” “Climate Change Basics” and “Professional Development.” Browse Education blog posts, videos, photos and more.

A few weeks ago our Director of Education, Kristen, shared our Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum with teachers that are taking part in the University of Minnesota’s STEM Education’s CYCLES program.  Teachers spent the day engaging in activities and learning about Minnesota’s biomes and the impacts of climate change.  If you are interested in a customized workshop in your education setting please contact us!  Email:

Kristen also just returned from Berkeley, where she spent an invigorating weekend strategizing with 50 other climate and energy literacy experts, hosted by the National Center for Science Education.  The group discussed ways of “substantially and measurably increasing climate and energy literacy in this country.”   Stay tuned for a white paper and next steps.

Emerging Leaders

Climate Math That Works!

DSC 0814Our YEA! MN youth steering committee played a central role in the Climate Math That Works conference, directly following Bill McKibben’s Do the Math tour stop in Minneapolis, in partnership with MN350 and Minnesota Youth Environmental Network. High student leaders helped plan for the event and facilitated a youth workshop engaging 80 high school and college youth from across the state. The conference focused on climate change action, with an emphasis on local grassroots solutions. Read more about the event here.

8 Midwest Youth Climate Orgs Receive Funding
WSF is proud to share the announcement that 8 Midwest youth climate organizations received critical funding in partnership with the RE-AMP network for solutions-oriented initiatives. The WSF Emerging Leaders program is home to the Midwest Youth Caucus, a space where key youth climate leaders can network with one another and build cross-generational connections with veteran non-profit environmental organizations across the region. Our Youth Programs Director plays a key role in facilitating the Youth Caucus, supporting youth organizations, mentoring grantees, and building a leadership pipeline. Find out more about the role Midwest youth are playing in the transition to clean energy future.

WSF’s Youth Program Director Selected to Join National Leadership Circle
Abby Fenton was selected to participate in the Young Climate Leaders Action Network, a national initiative launched by Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions engaging twenty young leaders across the nation in a series of strategic retreats aimed at building a strong network across diverse sectors to push emerging and visionary solutions into the mainstream. The Network recently met in New Orleans and will meet again in April to solidify collaborations and outcomes.

WSF Launches Innovative Mentorship Program
WSF launched an innovative mentorship program connecting 10 emerging youth climate leaders with 10 veteran staff at environmental non-profit organizations across the Midwest this fall. The program fosters an egalitarian learning relationship where both participants are seen as equals and experts in their own right. Read more about this initiative.

In The News

Climate, Clean Energy and Health Forums

concordia thumb170-fixedConcordia College
View a Climate, Clean Energy and Health forum. Watch the video recording of Will presenting at Concordia College with partners. Read More
ppr thumb170-fixedPrairie Public Radio
Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton speak with Prairie Public Radio in Moorhead during a stop on their public forum tour. You can listen to the interview here. Read More

Read more coverage of Climate, Clean Energy and Health Forums


html inthenews3Zero Conference 2012
Will Steger spoke at the seventh annual Zero Emission Conference held November 19-20, 2012 in Oslo, Norway. Read More

Read more coverage of Events

Youth Leadership

mndaily thumb170-fixedMN Daily
University hosts conference for fossil fuel divestment co-sponsored by our high school program, YEA! MN. Read More

Read more coverage of Youth Leadership

Chasing Ice

outside thumb170-fixedOutside Magazine
Disappearing Act: James Balog’s Quest to Capture Climate Change in Action. Read More

Read more coverage of Chasing Ice

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Use your voice and power to tell your representatives where you stand on climate change. Take action!

Photo of the Month

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National Geographic photographer James Balog discusses his new film Chasing Ice at a
Will Steger Foundation reception before the film premiere in Minneapolis.
Photograph copyright 2012 John Ratzloff.


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