Students immersed in a day of learning about environmental issues

Participants headed outside for hands-on learning about stormwater filtration with Sound Salmon Solutions.

Nearly 40 local students gathered on Friday, May 31 for an afternoon rich with learning and brainstorming about the environment and climate stability at the second annual Edmonds Youth Environmental Summit.

Led by three instructors, participants from Edmonds Heights K-12, Edmonds-Woodway High School, Innovation Lab High School, Lynnwood High School, Maplewood K-8, Meadowdale High School and Mountlake Terrace High School attended a series of workshops at the Edmonds Waterfront Center, according to Gayle Leberg, Edmonds Youth Environmental Summit advisor.

“Climate change and environmental degradation are the biggest issues facing the young generation and their future,” Leberg said. “The summit was ultimately planned by student leaders from four high schools, who chose the workshop topics and set the agenda for the closing meeting in which to afford their peers an opportunity to organize their voices around issues they felt were important. It’s the role of the adults to create opportunities and support students in this quest.”

Breakout groups brainstorm ways to harness their voices on behalf of the environment.

The event was kicked off with a welcome from Edmonds Waterfront Center’s CEO Daniel Johnson, who pointed out that the Center’s building is LEED-certified, with 300 solar panels and many other sustainability-focused features.

State Representative and Snohomish County Councilmember Strom Peterson was on hand to encourage participants to be vocal about environmental issues and to reach out to elected officials with concerns and suggestions.

A student (left) investigates the texture of black bear fur while an instructor (center) and student (right) marvel at a black bear skull provided by PAWS.

Students then participated in workshops designed to enhance their knowledge of local environmental organizations, including Cedar Grove (composting and soil), PAWS (co-existing with urban wildlife), the Sno-Isle Group of the Sierra Club (sea level rise), and Sound Salmon Solutions (how healthy watersheds help protect local salmon).

The event was made possible by Edmonds PTA, Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Edmonds United Methodist Church, Edmonds Waterfront Center, Interfaith Climate Action and Sno-Isle Group of the Sierra Club.

— Story and photos By Clare McLean

X-rays of a black bear injured by a car during a presentation from PAWS about living productively alongside wildlife.
  1. Thank you so much, Clare, for your article, and photos (yours were so much better than mine!). It seems that students are doing what the City of Edmonds is not, and that is recognizing the reality of climate change and the role individuals are playing in causing impacts on the planet. They are looking at what they and their families can do to help save the earth, such as getting educated on realities, learning specifically about what they can do, and working together to make a difference. Congratulations to these students who are showing their elders what can be done with little or no dollars if they are just given the opportunity.

  2. The students and advisors to the second annual Edmonds Youth Environmental Summit also want to acknowledge and thank the businesses and individuals that supported the summit by making donations of door prizes. These included Edmonds Theater, Revelations Yogurt, Café Louvre, PCC Edmonds, Musicology, Pagliacci, Lou Loree, Barbara Steller and Gayla Shoemake. Other donations included Johnnymos Pizza and of course the amazing staff and volunteers at the Edmonds Waterfront Center.

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