On September 15th and 16th the inaugural Utah Youth Environmental Summit (UYES) was held at Alta Ski Resort. UYES was created to provide a space for environmentally conscious Utah youth to network and gain the skills needed to become leaders for statewide environmental justice and sustainability efforts. Workshops, guest speakers, and outdoor activities were held to achieve these goals. Two Logan High students, Piper Christian and Elizabeth Hansen, along with West High student, Mishka Banuri, planned this event out of the want/need for a statewide environmental youth network. The event began on Friday afternoon and started with some icebreaker activities, which were followed by a catered dinner. After dinner a hybrid Beehive Collective presentation was given by Will Monger and Emily Hornback. The Beehive Collective tells environmental justice stories through art. The presentation was based on this artwork depicting the rise and fall of coal mining in Appalachia. They related this issue back to similar issues in Utah like the Black Mesa Mine.
Following this presentation, students had the opportunity to go on a stargazing night hike. Temperatures were at or below freezing, but students bundled up and braved the cold. Emma Larese-Casanova, an LHS student who attended the summit said, “I love stargazing!”
The next morning, many students got up before sunrise to go on a sunrise hike. The morning started with an environmental club basics workshop followed by a spectrogram activity and a community organizing workshop. Non-profits and college campuses then had a tabling event which allowed students to talk to potential colleges about environmental involvement opportunities and learn more about the work that non-profits around the state have done. Students also had the opportunity to work with their schools to decide on a project to work on during the year. Project ideas ranged from guerilla gardening to starting a composting program at school.
Students attending the summit joined the Utah Youth Environmental Solutions, a network of youth led by a council of members. To apply to be a council member click here. If you would like more information about joining Utah Youth Environmental Solutions email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 435-890-9672. To see pictures from this year’s summit and to get information on future events follow @utahyes on Instagram.