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Sleepy Eye YES! team wins award for eco action projects

SLEEPY EYE — The Sleepy Eye Schools YES! team won second place during the annual Youth Eco Solutions (YES!) Competition on May 19.

A panel of five judges with expertise in environmental fields met virtually with teams from around the state and scored each based on the interview and a final report. Scoring categories included Community Engagement and Impact; Project Planning and Completion; Teamwork and Growth; and Ecological Impact. The team received $250 and an award plaque.

The Sleepy Eye Schools YES! team is a partnership between students at the public school and St. Mary’s Catholic School. They impressed judges with their community involvement and student outreach efforts. The team completed a variety of projects including recycling over 1,000 pounds of holiday lights, creating a separation table for cafeteria waste, conducting an Earth Week Celebration, maintaining three sites developed with native prairie plants, turning plastic bags into mats for the homeless, and more.

Judging the competition were Beth Mercer-Taylor (Institute on the Environment at University of MN), Jon Morales (Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District), Phil Votruba (MN Pollution Control Agency), Scott Glup (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and Tina Miller (Blattner Company). Votruba told the students that their team “serves as a strong and important environmental role model for youth and for all citizens across the state of Minnesota and beyond. Your group represented your school and community very well! It is through the efforts of young environmental stewards like you that significantly help to ensure a healthy environmental future for the state of Minnesota and our country.”

YES! is open to Minnesota students in grades 7-12. For more information, visit www.yesmn.org or email sayyes@yesmn.org. Major support for YES! comes from LYFT Career Pathways, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), and Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs).

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