By Tom Larson
As Tuesday's electronics waste collection project showed, Morris Area students are deeply and effectively involved in doing what they can to improve the environment.
Obviously, others see it, too.
The Morris Area Service Learning Program's Student Energy Leadership Team took three of seven awards, including the two top prizes, at a Youth Energy Summit "Co-op-etition" April 19 in Spicer.
In addition to Morris Area, 12 other school districts were involved in the "Co-op-etition," was sponsored by the YES at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center. Other sponsors included the Southwest Initiative Foundation, Otter Tail Power, CentrePoint Energy, the Kandiyohi Power Co-op and Lake Region Bank.
The Morris Area students attended two YES seminars, in September 2007 and January 2008. The groups there were challenged to go back to their communities and develop projects to help improve the environment and surroundings, said Cheryl Kuhn, Morris Area Service Learning Coordinator.
The Morris Area students developed a recycling program in the school district, organized the electronics waste recycling project, and will soon begin work on a shoreline restoration project in Pomme de Terre Park.
For their efforts, judges at the YES honored the Morris Area students with the top award, the Grand Prize for Excellence in Youth Energy Action, which came with a $1,500 award.
The Morris Area students also were honored by other competitors with the Peer Choice Award. Judges also honored the Morris Area group with the Carbon Footprint Award.
The students presented a PowerPoint showing and other information.
"What (judges) said was that they were impressed by the students' knowledge and that they could tell it was all student-led," Kuhn said.