submitted by Olivia Little
The recently concluded Youth Climate Action Summit (YCAS) proved to be a resounding success, uniting 96 enthusiastic high school students from 20 schools in an empowering exploration of environmental responsibility.
The Summit kicked off with presentations by guest speakers, including FABN’s Executive Director Shannon Lem, the FABN Board co-chair Steve McGovern, Michèle Andrews from Door Number One, Nancy Peckford, Mayor of North Grenville, and Cam Jones, Principal of Student Success and Real-World Learning with UCDSB.
Following lunch, students participated in two workshops of their choice. The workshops covered diverse topics such as preparing for extreme weather with the Leeds Grenville and Lanark Health Unit, creating walkable communities, and building resilience in the face of climate anxiety. One standout workshop was the Ferguson Forest Centre (FCC) tour, which allowed students to tour the facility, hear from the Vice President of the FCC’s Board of Directors and take home cedar saplings for community planting.
The Summit also included a collaborative work session, where students started their own Climate Action Plans (CAPs) for implementation in their schools. The atmosphere was charged with lively discussion and knowledge-sharing as students exchanged ideas, fostering a sense of unity and purpose in addressing climate challenges.
YCAS concluded with a moving Thanksgiving address given by The Native North American Traveling College, leaving attendees inspired and motivated to effect positive change in their communities.
YCAS is a testament to the power of youth engagement in addressing global issues. The organizers extend their heartfelt gratitude to sponsors, the Good Family Foundation, CSE Consulting, the Trottier Family Foundation, and the Upper Canada District School Board, whose support made this event possible.