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Organizing Youth Environmental Summits

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Originally appears in the Fall 2007 issue

For middle and high school students, the concepts of visual pollution and transportation are excellent entry points for studying the complex issues involved in community growth and planning. In Kentucky, we have had great success introducing these concepts through two Youth Environmental Summits that attracted teams of students from 8 schools in 2003 and from 16 schools in 2005. This article will explore some of the benefits and challenges of organizing such events on a state- or province-wide basis.

Summit 2003: Visual environments

In May 2003, eight middle and high schools responded to an invitation from Kentucky’s governor to send teams of eight to ten students to attend the first Youth Environmental Summit. It was held in Midway, a community that has managed healthy economic growth while maintaining the visual appeal of both its built and natural environment.

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 Jane Eller is executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council in Frankfort, Kentucky.