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Student-led Project Earth takes charge in tackling environmental issues

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

Project Earth is an environmental, student-led club at Edina High School. The group works to raise awareness of environmental problems. “Our goal is to get our community to care about environmental problems and get involved in the solution,” said Ana Martinez, one of Project Earth’s current leaders.

Over the years, Project Earth has carried out different initiatives throughout EHS and the community to encourage more environmentally friendly and sustainable actions. One of these projects is the installation of solar panels. “Project Earth had been interested in bringing renewable energy to Edina for a long time, and in the 2017-18 school year we began to look into how solar could realistically be implemented in the district,” said Natalie Swanson, an EHS and Project Earth alumna. “We connected with school board leaders and Buildings and Grounds, as well as organizations and community members who could support us in taking steps towards a finished solar installation. We established strong working relationships with these individuals and groups, and continue to collaborate with them as we progress in the project.”

Through a fundraising event during the summer of 2018, organized and hosted by Project Earth, and continued community support, the group has raised enough money to install solar panels at the high school, likely to be installed in late spring. “Solar energy is important because it’s one of the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective sources of energy nowadays, which plays an essential role in tackling climate change,” said Martinez. “This installation is very exciting because of the data that we are going to be able to receive and use in different classes, which we hope will demonstrate that renewable energies should be the future of all schools in Edina, and eventually of the city.”

Another initiative that Project Earth organizes is the Youth Climate Summit, scheduled for April 25. The summit, free to the public, will begin with a panel of experts and leaders discussing different aspects of climate change, including health, climate policy, and sustainable development. Included on the panel will be Dr. Bruce Snyder from Healthy Professionals for a Healthy Climate, Minnesota Rep. Heather Edelson, Superintendent John Schultz, and Professor Daniel Griffin from the University of Minnesota. For the remainder of the event, attendees have the opportunity to enjoy sustainable food from local vendors and participate in climate-related workshops, including kid-friendly activities.

“We know that not everyone can make big changes in their lives in order to fight this problem, and for this reason we want to show them that there are small changes that they can make which collectively will make a difference,” said Martinez. “It is important to reach out to other students and get them to become part of the change that we need because our generation is going to be the most affected by climate change.”

Youth Climate Summit
April 25, 2020, 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
EHS Commons and Fick Auditorium

For more information about the Youth Climate Summit and other ways to get involved with the group, visit Project Earth’s website.