Move Your Feet!

Letter from the Executive Director

With the arrival of June, summer is finally here! We’re excited to have an office full of interns, and especially to welcome back three former high school students who were involved in our YEA! Minnesota program. Past YEA! MN Co-chair, Siiri Bigalke joins WSF as a Policy intern to help with public outreach around Minnesota’s clean energy future and coal retirement. Meet Siiri in this video. Read more about our Education and Emerging Leader Program interns, Leah and Katie.

We are gearing up for a number of events this summer, including Ten Thousand Villages benefit, a Garden Party, as well as our Summer Institutes for Climate Change Education this June and August at incredible outdoor locations!

In a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, notwithstanding international efforts to reduce our collective carbon footprint. While emissions fell in Europe and the U.S., they grew in China. It’s not that we’re making little or no progress on reducing harmful greenhouse gases, it’s just that we’re rapidly approaching a point at which it will be too late to ever reverse the damage.

Addressing the dismal climate news, Bob Collins recently asked the question in an MPR blog post: “What if it’s too late to reverse climate change?” and concluded that too much time has been wasted listening to a debate about whether climate change is occurring. The new conversation we need to have he argues should be about what it means when a scientist tells us it may be too late.

Debating the issue is no longer useful; our approach is to focus on creating solutions, which includes moving to cleaner energy sources, empowering educators to address the issue in their classrooms, and supporting incredible youth leaders who are implementing solutions on their campuses and in their communities.


Nicole Rom, Executive Director


Leah NormanLeah Norman recently joined our team as our Education Intern. “I first heard of the Will Steger Foundation (WSF) when Abby Fenton (WSF Youth Programs Director) came to give a presentation on Earth Day to my high school.  As a senior in high school, I became a member of the Youth Environmental Activists of Minnesota (YEA! MN).  I now attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado where I study Liberal Arts with minors in Economics, International Development Studies and Global Environmental Sustainability.  After graduation, I hope to work for a non-profit that aims to alleviate global problems, such as climate change and poverty.”

Our newest “Experience Energy!” curriculum is headed to the printers, the Audubon Center has ordered food, and the presenters are rehearsing – all in anticipation of the Summer Institute on Energy Education, beginning this Sunday June 16.  Follow the action on FacebookTwitter and watch for reflections on the event posted on our website afterwards.

Looking for something to do with friends or young people in your life?  Make a video and submit it to the Youth Voices of Change: Climate Change Youth Video Contest. Top ten entries get admission to the Minnesota State Fair and their video shown on The Sustainability Stage at Eco Experience at the State Fair.  Watch the video and find how to enter on our contest page.

Emerging Leaders

YEA! MN Wraps up a Strong Program Year
YEA! MN Wraps up a Strong Program YearIt has been a great year for YEA! MN, and students are celebrating their hard work by going camping! Youth Steering Committee members planned their own social retreat to Hudson, WI to play and rest after a jam-packed year of high school student organizing. We are proud of the amazing sustainability projects students launched on their campuses and the outstanding role students played at the State Capitol as part of the Clean Energy and Jobs Campaign, and applaud our outgoing student Co-Chairs for their good work. Cole Norgaarden will be heading to Cornell University this fall, and Katie Mercer-Taylor to Oberlin College. Congratulations!

We are lucky to have our outstanding YEA! MN Co-chair, Katie Mercer-Taylor, with us as Emerging Leaders Program Intern this summer. Katie will be blogging on youth activism, supporting our mentorship program, and helping us track our YEA! MN alumni. Welcome Katie!


This week is Bike-Walk Week! Learn about the events and incentives when you bike or walk to work June 9-15, 2013. Live too far from work to bike or walk?  Mix it up by biking or walking to the bus stop or train station! All we ask is that one time during the week when you would usually drive your car, leave it behind, dust off your sneakers, and move your feet!

team women_bike_walk_week

Photo of the Month

slideshow tenthousandvillages

logoTen Thousand Villages: Support climate change action and fair trade!
Thursday, June 20th, 5 – 8 pm
867 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN  55105
20% of proceeds support the Will Steger Foundation 


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