The Student Climate Conference At Princeton Day School
On May 12th, the second annual Student Climate Conference was held at Princeton Day School. The program was complete with presentations by students, a fair with stands from environmental nonprofits, outdoor activities, and the Keynote Speaker: Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya von Rossum. The aim of this program was to inform and motivate youth in the area on environmental sustainability.
Image Source: Liz Cutler
Starting in January a core planning committee of 6 people met every Thursday to plan the conference. From having to organize logistics, such as getting presentations ready, to calling and arranging the nonprofits to set up their booths on campus, there was a lot of work that had to go into the conference. The conference itself was organized by students from Princeton Day School, Princeton University Graduate students from the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) program, as well as the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. At the event, we had students from Princeton Day School (PDS) who were part of the Energy and Climate Scholars Program present, as well as students from other high schools in the area. During our planning, we decided that the conference was to serve more of a purpose than just educating students at PDS, but rather to inspire youth from the entire district. Thus having presenters from other schools, gave many passionate students in the environmental field a chance to educate everyone on their chosen topic, which helped to further the mission of the conference.
After hearing short presentations from students on the topics such as technological solutions to climate change or environmental activism, there were also a series of outdoor activities that students were invited to participate in. These included:
Nature Parkour: Connecting to nature through movement and play.
River-Friendly PDS: Tour the river-friendly practices at the PDS Campus Center.
Invasive Landscape: Discover your plant neighbors, some native plants, and others invasive plants.
Wild Edible Plants: Identify and taste a small assortment of edible plants on the PDS campus.
What's All The Buzz? Learn about bees and what's happening to them in our ecosystem, and visit PDS hives with a beekeeper.
Image Source: Chris Kiel
The outdoor activities were one of the greatest moments for many people who attended. After listening to a series of meaningful presentations on protecting the environment and its importance, this was a great way to actually connect with nature. I went on a small trip where I learned about the various edible plants that exist on campus, many of which I had not heard of before. The small things that everyone learned at the conference added up to make it a meaningful experience. During the closing, we had Maya Von Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, address the conference. She shared a powerful story about her journey as a fighting activist to keep the Delaware River free from fracking industries that would pollute it. Her message on the need to protect the environment and to stand up for the values you believe in was one that reverberated through every heart in the room. It is my hope and belief that this conference made an impact on all of the one hundred students there, as it is certainly an event I will cherish.