Five Indigenous schools attended Inside Education’s Youth Environmental Leadership Summit

(Rocky Mountain House, AB) – Mistassiniy School, O’Chiese First Nation School, Paddle Prairie School, Piikani Nation Secondary School & Sunchild School recently took part in Inside Education’s 12th in-person Youth Environmental Leadership Summit, Generate and Navigate 2023.

A total of 20 high schools from across Alberta and northeast BC were selected by the award-winning environmental and natural resource charity to come together in Canmore, Alberta, to better understand the science, issues, technology, and careers related to energy, climate, and water.

During the three-day Summit, six students and two teachers from each of the 20 schools were given a unique opportunity to meet and engage with over 70 expert guests from academic institutions, industry, government, Alberta’s Indigenous community, and environmental groups. Experts included Jasveen Brar, ED of the Youth Climate Lab (and Generate 2013 student-participant), Jacob Irving, CEO Energy Council of Canada, and Autumn EagleSpeaker from Keepers of the Water.

“This [Summit] gave our students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of energy and water in Alberta,” O’Chiese First Nation School teacher Karyn Booy said in a recent letter to Inside Education. “I saw our students get out of their comfort zones, try new things, and be courageous. We highly valued our time here and would love to come again.”

160 students and teachers participated in a series of hands-on energy and water-focused workshops, such as wind turbine model-building and DNA extractions from local water with University of Alberta professor Dr. Patrick Hanington, along with various off-site experiences, including guided tours of hydroelectric dams and snow sampling.

Upon completion of the Summit, each school is challenged to develop and implement an education and action project to engage their peers and their community about the energy, climate, and water topics they learned about throughout the Summit. These projects will occur from Spring Break to the end of the school year and beyond.

“We expect to see a multitude of positive outcomes as a result of each school’s participation in the Summit. What has already become apparent is that students left Generate/Navigate informed, inspired, and empowered to work toward a sustainable future for our environment, economy, and society,” according to Kathryn Wagner, Inside Education Program Director.

Inside Education is Alberta’s largest environmental and natural resource education charity. In addition to province-wide Youth Leadership Summits like Generate/Navigate, Inside Education is committed to inspiring students and providing support for K-12 school teachers through various avenues, including in-class learning resources, interactive presentations, experiential field trips, securing grant money where needed, and much more.

“This will forever be one of my favourite memories. I’ve learnt a lot and got so much help from people I just met. I’m so grateful I met everyone here and now get to call them my friends. All the things I learned will forever stick with me,” noted Ashley, a student at Mistassiniy School in Wabasca.

160 students and teachers gathered in Canmore for the Generate/Navigate Youth Environmental Leadership Summit. Photo by Jordon Hon.


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