Youth Environmental Summit For Delaware High School Students

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is supporting the third annual Delaware Youth Environmental Summit (YES!) on Thursday, April 14 with sponsorship and a keynote address by Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, and additional presentations by DNREC staff.

The student-led conference will be held at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Conference Center in Newark and is offered free of charge, with lunch included, for Delaware high school students and educators who are advisors to school teams. Preregistration is open through April 8 at Attendance is limited.

“Some refer to today’s young people as ‘the environmental stewards of tomorrow,’” said Secretary Garvin. “I believe they are the environmental leaders of today, and DNREC is proud to support events like YES! that seek to empower the younger generation with the tools and information to become even more effective advocates for our natural world.”

Planned by students, YES! aims to inspire youth-led action and environmental leadership through keynote speakers, breakout workshops, and nonprofit and agency exhibitors. In addition to Secretary Garvin, guest speakers include U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester, Governor John Carney (invited), Delaware Senator Stephanie Hansen, Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz, and Andrew Fagerheim, climate advocate and Columbia University student. Topics include pathways to green schools, renewable energy, factory farming, reducing plastic in schools, environmental justice, climate resiliency, electric vehicles, our diet’s impact on climate change, and environmental advocacy.

“Our goal is to inform, inspire, activate, and empower students for environmental change,” said Neha Veeragandham, lead student organizer for YES!, from Charter School of Wilmington.

Now in its third year, YES! was created by a coalition of representatives from educators at Delaware schools, non-profit environmental organizations, and public agencies to provide the opportunity for teens to meet, learn, and share their ideas on environmental issues of concern. The inaugural conference in February 2020 was attended by student teams from more than 20 Delaware schools representing all three counties and more than 270 students. In 2021, a virtual summit was held with more than 30 Delaware high schools represented.