Four Montana teens will attend the 2014 4-H Climate and Environmental Change Teen Summit at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., on March 27 to learn how to establish their own Youth Climate Science Program in Montana.
The four Montana 4-H teens are: Rachel Fessenden, Bozeman; Shelbi Fitzpatrick, Cut Bank; Jenny Greger, Bozeman; and Alexandria Schafer, Denton. The youth will be accompanied by Sue Geske, Gallatin County 4-H veterinary science project leader and bio-science team coach. The team will connect with tribal communities with help from Lisa Lone Fight, a researcher at the MSU Spatial Sciences Center and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (Sahnish) Nation.
The Montana program is organized by Broadwater County Extension in collaboration with the Montana State University Extension Community Development Program, the City of Bozeman and the MSU Weatherization Center.
After attending summit, the four will form a science team to teach climate science learning activities during 4-H Congress, which will be held July 8-11 in Bozeman. Montana 4-H Congress delegates will be invited to attend the team's hands-on workshops and field trips at a city waste water facility tour, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building inspection, a greenhouse gas inventory of municipal fleet and buildings, and an energy audit of a local business or ranch. The team will also work to establish a 2015 Youth Climate Summit with the intention of maintaining an annual summit.
“As a direct descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe, I see climate change affecting my home,” Fitzpatrick said.
“The 566 Tribal Nations in the United States must also be part of climate change discussions and solutions.”
“People need to be educated about global climate change so our nation can face this problem together,” Schafer said. “It is our duty to inform our nation and our world, beginning with youth and hopefully branching out to inform all citizens. My personal goal for a future Montana Climate and Environmental Change Summit is to reach as many people as we can.”
Youth participant Jenny Greger, who is the winner of the 2014 350-mile Montana Race to the Sky dogsled race applied the summit to her sport.
“While I am relatively new to dogsledding, I am already seeing the effects of climate change on snow conditions in the state,” Greger said. "I’m glad that girls have opportunities to learn and to lead on this issue.”
Funding for the summit was received through the National Science Foundation National Girls Collaborative Project, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) grant and through the MSU Campus Sustainability Advisory Council with additional support from the Gallatin County 4-H Unlimited Leaders Council and Gallatin County 4-H Foundation.
Paul Lachapelle (406) 994-3620, email@example.com