2014-2015 YES! Teams

2014-2015 YES! Teams

We are excited to share what these YES! teams accomplished this year!

View YES! Teams 2014-2015 in a larger map

  • The YES! team is part of a transition program for 12th grade special education students with high needs who will require support after high school.  The program requires students to do a service project and the students chose to create a pollinator garden.
  • Students learned about pollinator gardens and put together a pitch for their school principal.
  • Worked with school staff, students, and community members to write 4 grants and secure funding for their pollinator garden which now includes 375 plants.
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City
  • Monitored the use of their hydration station and recorded 13,085 fills as of April 14, 2015.
  • Ran a paper recycling fundraiser during April and May at their Jr/Sr High School to help fund future energy action projects in their schools and communities.
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting used shoes that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.  They collected over 300 pounds of tennis shoes!
  • Completed an energy audit by analyzing every exterior door in their school with a laser thermometer to see which doors needed weather stripping and where on the doors it was leaking.

DREAM Technical Academy YES! students learning at a recent Winter Workshop

DREAM Technical Academy (Willmar)
  • Analyzed energy usage at the school using the power cost monitor YES! Kit.
  • Received a grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation to build a compost tumbler. This is part of a waste awareness initiative that was sparked in part at the Waste Winter Workshop where they toured the Kandiyohi County Recycling and Hazardous Waste Facility and the county landfill. This workshop culminated in a waste audit at the school that will continue the team on their path to sustainability.
  • Based on their waste audit, they expect to be able to reduce their school waste by 25% through a combination of composting and better recycling.
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting used shoes that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.
Duluth East
  • Evaluated and redefined recycling at Duluth East High School.  This included determining weaknesses of the current program and setting goals for the future.
  • Plan to reorganize their “green club” as a YES! team next year.
Eden Valley-Watkins
  • Researched and planned flower bed construction. Their wish is to beautify an area outside of their building that is in need of work.  Once the garden is constructed, a system will be developed to bring and utilize rainwater to water the garden.
  • Reached out to local business to support YES! through the East Side Oil 5 cent program

GSL YES! team members showing off one of their vehicles that competed at the MTEEA Supermileage Challenge


GSL YES! team members and all 3 of their vehicles

Glencoe-Silver Lake
  • Built a new vehicle to compete in the E-85 division of the MTEEA Supermileage Challenge.  The two vehicles that they built in previous years for the competitions were entered into the competition in the Stock and Modified divisions.  One student commented, “building a high-mileage vehicle from scratch was a very enjoyable experience.  I hope to have more real-life experiences like it in college”.
  • According to their coach “the team performed beyond expectations at the competition”.  Their “Orange Crush” vehicle (with an average MPG of 425 and top MPG of 456) earned them a second-place finish.  Their blue car finished with 253 MPG and their Pink Cadillac with 85 MPG (the weather was a factor in this low MPG).
  • Helped fund their projects through a community-based recycling initiative that resulted in 10,000 pounds of waste scrap metal being recycling and raised $4,700 for their team.
  • Planned and went on a trip to Kansas where they met with well over 500 fans and talked to them about Supermileage, YES!, and STEM.
  • Check out their team website.
Lac qui Parle Valley
  • Ran and maintained a Deep Winter Greenhouse.
  • Grew enough greens for their school lunch program and sold 5 CSA shares to local families to raise money in order to maintain operations and make this program sustainable in the future.
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting used shoes that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.
  • Installed hydration stations at their Elementary School.
  • Participated in “One Vegetable, One Community” for the 4th year in a row.  This year they planted four different varieties of squash and distributed about 800 plants to local first graders and community members.
  • Did a holiday light recycling program in their school and community and collected 5 big boxes (about 40 pounds) of lights.
  • Collaborated with other organizations in their school including Student Council and FCCLA for the Litchfield Community Clean up Day.
Mankato West students working to retrofit their school's lighting with more energy-efficient bulbs

Mankato West students working to retrofit their school’s lighting with more energy-efficient bulbs

Mankato West
  • Distributed 1250 reusable water bottles to students and staff at their high school to encourage use of the hydration stations they installed in their school last year.  Each hydration station has a QR code on it so students can scan it and submit the current number of bottle fills from the station to a graph of fills that the YES! students monitor.
  • Upgraded hallway lighting throughout the school.  They replaced 731 of the school’s 32-watt light bulbs with T8 28W Ultra Energy Saving bulbs.  This change reduces their electrical energy consumption slightly, but also more than doubles the life span of the bulbs, saving them about $6.50 per day and nearly $19,500 over the lifespan of the replacement bulbs!  Check out a time-lapse video of their efforts and read more about it.
  • To gather data on their school’s electrical usage during the school day, they distributed a survey to all staff members and compiled the results along with the data from an electrical energy usage audit they did to help them understand their school’s energy habits and how they might change them.
  • Installed a vending miser to save energy in a drink vending machine in their school cafeteria. They first measured how much energy the vending machine is using without the energy-saving device so that they could calculate how much energy and money the vending miser saves their school.  The miser has reduced the vending machine energy usage by 25%!
  • Wrote articles regarding their team and projects for a STEM kiosk in their school.
Mountain Iron-Buhl
  • Explored several projects and worked on a project to recycle all of their school’s milk cartons, but found that this was harder than they expected.
New London-Spicer
  • Made and sold organic granola with local rolled oats.
  • Made beeswax products for the Kandi Mall bake sale.
  • Created a shoe collection to raise money for a hydration station in their local elementary school.  They collected about 600 pounds of shoes!
  • Grew plants for their bee garden.
  • Taught outdoor science lessons to grades 1-3 in small groups.
  • Explored the feasibility of solar (both photo voltaic and solar thermal) for their school.
  • Collected holiday lights in the lobby of their middle and high schools.
The New York Mills YES! team sold these reusable water bottles as a fundraiser for a hydration station

The New York Mills YES! team sold these reusable water bottles as a fundraiser for a hydration station

New York Mills
  • Continued school garden development and maintenance.
  • Raised money for a hydration station in their school by selling re-useable YES! team water bottles and hosting a dance.
  • Hosted a YES! week May 4-8 including dress-up days and trivia!
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting used shoes that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.
North Woods (Cook)
  • Worked on making their school forest by acquiring 50 acres of land.
  • Built a bridge to access acres of land of the opposite side of a stream in their forest.  For this project they worked with the US Forest Service and other community members.
  • Started a milk carton recycling program and collected the unused milk left over by students which was then fed a local sow as she prepared to give birth to 11 piglets.
Northern Lights Community School (Warba)
  • Got rid of all of the waste created by milk cartons in their school through installing bulk milk dispensers in order to save money and send less waste to landfills.  They were able to find a used milk dispenser that met all requirements at a reasonable price.  They put together a cost analysis regarding this switch and determined that this switch will save approximately $200.00 of milk annually and eliminates 350 milk cartons from the waste stream each week.
  • They wanted to have a more environmentally effective way to dispose of their school’s food waste, so they implemented a composting program involving local community farmers.  Their school now collects all of its food waste at the end of every meal and provides it to local farmers to feed various farm animals in their community.
  • In return for the food waste, these farms provide the NLCS school garden with organic fertilizer.
  • The students developed a school garden and they have planned a CSA for the local community. The YES! team will be planning, planting, growing, and harvesting all the organic vegetables used for the CSA at NLCS.  Students were able to organize a garden based on the landscape architecture planning they studied.  A vegetable stand will be the centerpiece of the CSA garden project where local community members will be able to receive fresh, organic vegetables.
  • Received the 2nd annual Community Sustainability – People’s Choice Award which included a check in the amount of $200.00 from the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability’s Community Sustainability Initiative to be used in their school greenhouse.
  • The YES! team has been maintaining the recycling center at NLCS.  They designed and built signs that label which recyclables go in which area of the recycling center.  They also produced flyers that were distributed in the local community to inform them about the recycling center.  This made a difference for those community members that previously didn’t have access to an easy, local recycling center.
Pine Island
  • Initiated a recycling project involving their community which will result in 10 new mixed-recycling containers for their school to be put into use by next school year.
  • Held a late spring star-gazing event.
  • Hosted a class for children to help them discover nature.
  • Collected 181 cell phones for recycling from their school and community as part of the Minnesota Zoo’s Recycle for Rainforests program.
  • Hosted their second annual Winter Event on January 31st which included collaborative classes with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center regarding Winter Survival, paths lit by luminaries for skiing and snowshoeing, and lots more!
ROCORI YES! team members flexing their recycling muscles

ROCORI YES! team members flexing their recycling muscles

  • Provided recycling containers in their school building and collected paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum weekly.
  • Continued their assessment of their recycling program and noted that they recycled more than 4 barrels of paper, 5 barrels of plastic bottles, and almost 2 barrels of aluminum cans per week.  This is an increase from last year’s amounts, which were 3 barrels of plastic bottles, and 3 barrels of paper.  They attributed this increase to the fact that they provided more containers in key areas.
  • Again collected used tennis shoes from January through April to be refurbished and reused or recycled through the World Wear Project, which also helps them generate funds for their team projects. They collected over 150 pairs of shoes this year and new and old members of YES! joined together to pack and ship off the shoes!
  • Tabled at the ROCORI Coaches Association Kids Carnival and had a game that elementary school students could play to increase awareness of recycling as well as their YES! team.
  • Tabled at the St. Cloud State University Earth Day Expo.
  • With the collaboration of their custodial staff and Wenner Plumbing and Heating they installed their school’s second hydration station, something that staff and students had requested that they do due to the popularity of the first station.
  • During their school’s Earth Week they ran a contest for the best graphic designs for the reusable water bottles that they plan to sell as a fundraiser for their team and to promote better hydration and health.
One of the 6 newly-installed hydration stations in Royalton

One of the 6 newly-installed hydration stations in Royalton

  • Partnered with Minnesota Power to sell LED bulbs and encourage families to audit the energy use of their homes, thus earning funds for their school.
  • Entered the annual MN Renewable Energy Society Solar Boat Regatta and MTEEA Supermileage Challenge.
  • Hosted their second annual smoothie fundraiser for a local senior center.
  • Laid the groundwork for a school garden and greenhouse.
  • Exhibited and showcased renewable energy and waste reduction projects at the MN School Board Association conference.
  • Exhibited and showcased renewable energy and waste reduction projects at the CERTs conference in St. Cloud on March 10th.
  • Worked on the wiring, graphics, body structure, and solar panels of their solar trailer.
  • Worked to get signs with information regarding different species and vegetation types placed in the forest area behind their school.
  • Went on a trip to the Water Park of America to learn about water conservation and usage (and played around in the water, of course!)
  • Met with their school board to promote solar panels for the school.
  • Worked with their mayor to provide their school and community with an Eco-Fair on May 21st.
  • Hosted their first annual YES! week with activities, games, trivia, learning opportunities, and dress-up days.
  • Worked on the outdoor classroom that they helped install last year.
  • Initiated battery recycling this year.
  • A group of students worked with teachers and staff to help them save energy in their classrooms.
  • Completed their first full year of having milk carton recycling in their High School breakfast and lunch room and initiated it at their Elementary School.
  • Installed 6 hydration stations and have filled over 70,000 water-bottles with them over the 7 months they have been in use.
  • Continued to manage the East Side Waste Oil Collection site near their school.
Sleepy Eye (Public and St. Mary’s)
  • Continued many projects from previous years including:
    • “Save it for Side Two” (use of both sides of paper in copy machines)
    • Locker clean outs to collect recyclables (over 400 pounds recycled from these events this year)
    • Party in the Park to promote YES! goals and educate their community
    • Aluminum, plastics, and paper recycling
    • Promoting use of their hydration stations
    • Reminder signs to turn off unnecessary lighting
    • Selling reusable grocery bags with the YES! logo on them
    • Using energy misers on vending machines in their school
  • Continued to investigate the possibility of bringing composting to their school and community.
  • Based on a MnTap Solid Waste Assessment, they implemented new signage and organization of their recycling programs and began a waste audit to determine the amount of recyclables still going into the school dumpsters.
  • Investigated the possibility of installing solar at their school including meeting Zinniel Electric to practice installing panels and measuring energy output using the company’s computer program.
  • Their town received new LED holiday light displays, so they dismantled 20,000 lights from their town’s old light displays in order to recycle them.  This led to the Lights in Motion committee asking the team to raise additional funds for the community display by selling LED lights at the 2015 Party in the Park.
  • Collected 1,224 pounds of holiday lights from their community for recycling!
  • Six team members were trained to enter city building data into the B3 database for 14 city buildings including the two high schools that are attended by team members.  Next year the team will analyze this data to make recommendations to improve energy use in the city.
  • Planned and hosted Earth Week activities for the schools in their district, educating over 500 of their fellow students.
  • Hosted a Family Fun Night for parish outreach, education, and fun!
  • Installed a new hydration station at their school thanks to fundraising and donations.
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting used shoes that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.
This year's Springfield YES! team!

This year’s Springfield YES! team!

  • Created a YES! Week for their school, which took place March 16-20.  Events included an energy fair, dress-up days with energy themes, and a blackout day.
  • Collected 930 pounds of holiday lights for recycling!
  • Organized a clean water fundraiser that took place on May 8th and included a silent auction and brunch. Proceeds were donated to Clean Water Action, an organization dedicated to protecting the “environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life.”
  • Planned and implemented environmental education events in three elementary classrooms which included helping these students plant plants and chaperoning a field trip to the Children’s Museum of Southern MN to learn about the impacts of plants and agriculture on the environment.
  • Participated in the YES! World Wear Project by collecting t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats that will be reused and/or recycled in return for “Prairie Woods” bucks that they can use towards their YES! team fee next year.
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The St. Cloud Apolllo YES! team encourages you to “do the rot thing” and recycle your organic waste!

St. Cloud Apollo
  • Worked in partnership with Tri-County Organics to begin a lunchroom composting program which included creating a short film to raise awareness entitled “Do the rot thing“.
  • They estimate that they have diverted 50% of their school lunchroom waste from the landfill and to the organics recycling facility.
  • Implemented an Earth Week celebration at their school to increase and re-emphasize recycling in their school.
  • Hosted an annual “dirt cup” fundraiser that generated $110 in profit.
  • Planned events for next school year including a household hazardous waste collection day in conjunction with Tri-County HHW and educational events for their peers including presenting about recycling during freshman orientation day.
  • Toured Valley Fair in order to learn about their recycling and waste reduction program.
  • Communicated with school staff regarding purchasing more eco-friendly school supplies.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove
  • WWG Solar Lights

    One of the entrepreneurial projects of the WWG YES! team this year was making and selling these solar light jars made from recycled materials

    Placed bottle recycling bins strategically in their high school and elementary school in order to help them reach their goal of having no recyclable bottles placed in the garbage in their school.  They count the number of bottles in their recycling bins and in the trash regularly and donate the proceeds to their town’s 4th of July fireworks fund.

  • They have a plastic bag recycling program at their school and have collected almost 8,000 bags this year.  They are using the colored bags to make bracelets and lanyards.  They have sold over 50 of these bracelets and made around $180!
  • Using an idea they found on Pinterest, they have created some solar LED jars.  They have sold 15 of these at two local events!
  • They did a blog post about all of their entrepreneurship initiatives.
  • Continued to enter the data from their city buildings into the state’s B3 database.  They used this information to show their city officials ways to improve efficiency in their buildings.
  • Continued to oversee their local oil recycling site and recycled 379 gallons of oil, 1.2 barrels of filters and have made about $40 this year.
  • Provided upkeep for their school’s wind turbine, which has saved their school around $461.
  • They made and sold recycled plastic-bottle bird-feeders.
  • Took donated t-shirts and have turned them into reusable bags.
  • Made and sold 3 solar battery chargers.
Yellow Medicine East
  • Collected plastic bags for recycling.
  • Planned a greenhouse and outdoor education center in their 40’x40′ greenhouse which will be utilized like a traditional greenhouse as well as a classroom.
  • Got elementary students involved in growing their own food and enrolled more elementary school students in their gardening program.
  • Worked with the cities of Granite Falls and Hanley Falls to continue to develop and expand community gardens.  Worked with a local church to develop a garden on an open lot they own.  This has sparked several conversations in the community about gardening and local foods.