2015-2016 YES! Teams

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

Map for website

  • Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.00.29 PMManned the YES! booth at the PWELC Sleigh Fest where they used a bike that powers light bulbs to educate visitors about the energy consumption difference between incandescent, fluorescent and LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs were sold as a fundraiser.
  • Collected 97 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
  • Collected and recycled 47 pounds of shoes and 53 pounds of clothes.
  • Were invited as guest speakers at the West Central Clean Energy Resource Team Luncheon where they presented their solar parking lot projects to experts and solicited feedback and ideas.
  • Designed and implemented an Earth Day Education event for K-4th graders with 30 minute educational workshops for each grade level on topics such as solar and wind energy, recycling, and seed germination.
  • The school garden is being reinstated by the team this summer.  Plots of 10’x20’ will be rented to the community and the remaining area will be tended by the YES! Team. Produce will be used in school lunches and sold through farmers markets.
  • Packaged green bean seeds for distribution to families throughout Meeker County as part of the Meeker County One Vegetable, One Community Project.
  • Received a $25,000 grant through the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District for a tree trench and permeable paver storm drain piping project at their elementary school. Rainwater currently pools near the door and floods into the hallway.
  • Received a $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation for their work this year which they used for a solar parking lot project. Research indicated that the first step toward solar powered parking lot lights would be to reduce the energy load and LED lights were installed on two light poles.
  • Albany Climate ConveningCollected 6 boxes of shoes from their community totaling about 300 pounds to be recycled.
  • Hosted a holiday lights recycling project and collected over 100 pounds of lights.
  • Recycled over 400 pounds of aluminum cans
  • Planned and hosted a community-wide event about climate change and their team’s accomplishments.
  • Hosted an environmental week for their school.
  • Worked with the school cafeteria workers to make sure recycle-able lunch items were actually being recycled.
  • Created educational signs about how climate change is impacting animal populations for use in their community.
Carlton WW 1Carlton
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Built an aquaponics system with two 10-gallon tanks containing 8 fish each. They have successfully grown lettuce and basil with this floating garden and hope to expand this project and educate other members of their community with their newly acquired gardening knowledge.
  • Knowing they would need grow lights to enable plant growth during the dreary winters, they went to their local sheriff’s department and were able to obtain confiscated grow lights at no cost to the team.
  • Wanting to engage the student body in a broader recycling effort at the school, they partnered with their special education department to design and build four recycling stations for their school. They painted them in school colors and placed them in strategic locations around the school.
  • Knowing that just having the bins around school would not be enough, they began an advertising campaign to empower students to recycle. They even recruited key staff to assist in their efforts. The early results were an elimination of 80-100 pounds of waste per month being diverted from the landfill.
  • The last project they tackled this year was to install a garden on the school grounds. They acquired 50 pallets in order to grow plants on inverted pallets filled with dirt so if they ever needed to relocate their garden plot it was not a permanent structure. This team has also developed a schedule for watering and weeding the garden this summer to make sure their efforts are rewarded fully next fall when harvest time arises.
Cherry (Iron)
  • Cherry team photoThey’re a new YES! team!
  • Worked to build an electric vehicle.  Their goal is to demonstrate this electric vehicle to their fellow students and community next school year. The students have learned how to design, order materials, and build an electric vehicle.
  • Their hope is for their vehicle to achieve a range of 2 miles at 15 miles per hour before it must be re-charged.
  • Developed a Fair Share “Tiger Coffee” program which they branded after finding a supplier and ensuring they were following the Fair Share guidelines.
  • Studied greenhouse designs, costs of construction, green building techniques, and general construction practices. This led the way for their district to apply for a grant through the University of Minnesota to build a cold weather greenhouse.
  • Designed “Blow-Out Doors” for use in buildings that might experience a sudden drop in pressure, such as during tornadoes.
  • Received a $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation for their work this year.
DREAM Technical Academy (Willmar)
  • Sold LED lightbulbs at the Earth Day event at Prairie Woods ELC.
Discovery Woods Montessori (Brainerd)
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Put up signage throughout their school to help remind their peers and teachers to shut off lights and recycle appropriately.
  • Expanded their outdoor composting program to include indoor worm bins. Educated their fellow students and community members about how to compost using worms and began using the worms to compost food scraps.
  • Developed a brochure which they displayed and handed out at a “Green Marketplace” and plant sale they hosted to raise money for their projects.
  • Will be able to utilize their current perennial garden area as a habitat for pollinators for their school garden (which they are building this summer) and increase community and family education about sustainable living.
Duluth East
  • Did an energy audit of their school.
  • Began a Georgetown University Energy Prize Campaign to shut off/dim lights and computers at night.
  • Planned and hosted a green week in April which included a recycling push, a trash talk, and a  green day.
  • Planted trees.
  • Supplied a student discussion panel on eating habits at a sustainable foods conference.
Eden Valley-Watkins
  • They worked hard to recruit new members.
  • Participated in the “Bean Program”, a partnership with the Meeker County One Vegetable, One Community Program. Through this they went to their local elementary school and did activities with the three 1st grade classrooms. The YES! students read a book to the elementary students about growing beans, then they watched a time lapse video of beans sprouting and finally got to make a window bean garden to bring home with them.
Glencoe-Silver Lake
  • Glencoe WW_12.2015_2Successfully researched, designed, financed, fabricated and tested a one-person rechargeable electric vehicle. The vehicle was entered into the MTEEA Supermileage Challenge held May 10-11, 2016 at Brainerd International Raceway. Sixteen students worked after school and on weekends to see the project to completion.
  • At this competition, they took 3rd in the E-85 class, 3rd in the modified class, and 6th in the electric car division. The judges were impressed with the team’s transition of their stock car to an electric car!
  • Students informed their community of how using hybrids, full electric and high efficiency gasoline powered vehicles can reduce consumption of non-renewable fuel sources.
  • They have shared their final vehicle at local parades, community events, McLeod County and the MN state fair, and have presented to various community organizations including the Climate Generation’s West Metro Convening, Glencoe Lions club, Glencoe Chamber of Commerce, the Central MN Manufacturing Association, and the Silver Lake Lions.
  • They are dismantling the old tennis courts at their school to make room for a new building.  So far, they have removed the fence and light poles and are cutting up the metal and hauling the scrap for recycling. At various sites they have disassembled, loaded and hauled away 14,000 lbs of steel for recycling, the proceeds of which have been used to fund their vehicles.
  • Received a $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation for their work this year.
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Worked on a solar boat design and competed in the 25th annual Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES) Solar Boat Regatta.
  • Other projects they plan to explore next year include tiny homes, green construction, a high mileage vehicle, and recycling.
Lac qui Parle Valley
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.17.01 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.16.54 PMMaintained their school’s passive solar Deep Winter Greenhouse, through which they grew greens for 5 CSA shares and for their school’s lunchroom salad program. They grow an array of cold weather plants including pea sprouts, lettuces, bok choy, swiss chard, and more!
  • Gave tours to students and community members, updated the school board at monthly meetings, and communicated with administration, custodial staff, and kitchen staff about production issues.
  • Their team “wants to work to bring our message of healthy eating, healthy living, and a healthy environment to every person in our community, all ages, all backgrounds, all incomes levels, so that everyone can all benefit from the hard work and hours spent in our greenhouse.” In fact, they would like to incorporate their fresh greens into the local Meals on Wheels program next year!
  • Maintained the used oil recycling site in Madison.
  • Removed buckthorn at Lac qui Parle Mission State Park.
  • Presented at the Lac qui Parle Farm and Home show.
Little Falls Middle School
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Developed a “Dark Lunch” at their school to encourage awareness of energy use and the need for energy conservation.
  • After learning about the importance of standardized recycling containers at a YES! Winter Workshop, they evaluated their school’s recycling efforts and ended up ordering and distributing standardized recycling bins to all classrooms and copy rooms (40 in total), along with directions on what can be recycled.
  • Worked to get milk carton recycling up and running in their school.
  • Worked to get a School to Farm program going. They plan to have lunch waste collected and then sent to a farmer for use as hog or chicken feed.
Mankato West
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.51.17 AMBrainstormed how to encourage other Mankato schools to switch from Styrofoam to reusable trays like they did in their school as a previous YES! project. To do this they gathered data regarding why permanent, washable trays are more cost efficient and environmentally friendly than foam trays.
  • They developed a questionnaire for their tray project to help make the transition for other schools easier.
  • Continued to check data on the hydration stations they installed in their school.
  • Researched the most efficient way to compost bathroom paper towels rather than throw them away.
  • Were asked to create a video to inform elementary students about composting that also highlights the difference between composting and trash. They chose to create a video from the first-person perspective of food waste and the potential paths it may take when it leaves the lunchroom. To do this, they took video and photos of the composting process and the landfill process at various sites from their school to composting sites and landfills. They are in the process of finishing the video, which will be used annually across their school district for students in grades K-5.
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.03.01 AMAdvertised in their school and community and collected four boxes of shoes for the World Wear Project.
  • In order to improve recycling in their school, the students searched the garbage cans in the 6th-12th grade part of the building to assess what was being thrown away and how this was impacted by where the recycling bins were located. They then worked with Doug Lien of Tri-County Waste to increase the number of recycling containers available in their school and created a labeling system for the waste baskets and recycling bins. They have already noticed an improved recycling rate and will be putting up more signs about proper recycling.
  • Designed and planted a pollinator garden made up of student-selected native plants at their school.
  • Organized Earth Week activities for their middle school which included earth trivia cards, an Earth Day coloring contest, a Lights Out Day and green/blue day on Earth Day.
Mesabi East Winter Workshop 2016 1Mesabi East
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Worked to get a hydration station installed in the school to reduce disposable water bottles.
Minnesota New Country School
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Transitioned into the harvesting and marketing phase of their ongoing sustainable foods project.
  • Built a hydroponics project that is raising tilapia and lettuce and they plan to expand it next year.
  • The hydroponics system project resulted in another project-a solar power project. A solar panel, connected to batteries, a controller and inverter, was installed in the greenhouse.  The pumps on the aquaponics system are being run with solar power.  The whole system has become a demonstration of the project’s success and energy conservation for the entire school.  They hope to triple the system next year.
  • Spent a week touring local CSA farms.
  • Created a local foods celebration in Henderson where they served a local foods lunch and created a farmers market at their school. Had over 120 community members and students attend their local foods fair!
  • Sold apples, cider, vinegar, honey, and flour from their 6-acre school orchard.
  • Worked on their Supermileage vehicle for the MTEEA Supermileage Challenge in Brainerd.
  • Received a $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation for their work this year.
NLS team photo 1NLS team photo 2New London-Spicer
  • They continue to work on their Deep Winter Greenhouse. Through collaboration with the district nutritionists and cooks, their team is delivering greenhouse lettuce to the lunch line at the height of its taste and nutritional value with no transportation energy and no disposable packaging.
  • Plan to expand their plantings to include both an annual and perennial herb garden.
  • Their apple orchard, grapevines, and greenhouse are all school community areas where YES! is raising organic food for students.
  • They collected 93 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
  • Sold beeswax products this fall including lip balm and hand cream as a way to raise awareness for the need of pollinator protection.
  • Hosted a YES! Week in January with reminders and activities for each day of the week.
  • Designed and sold reusable water bottles as well as using them as incentives in an Earth Week photo contest. They invited students to observe and submit photos of the many examples of clean water in their lives in order to inspire the protection of their watershed. The student clean water photos from the contest were assembled into a digital display to celebrate the Water/Ways theme.
  • Worked with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District in their efforts to protect water ways by installing a tree trench living filtration system in the new NLS Middle School parking lot. The YES! team will help develop an educational piece for the school community, along with their vigilance through the Adopt a Drain program.
  • Taught outdoor environmental lessons to the younger members of their community (1st-3rd graders) in order to impact lessons about the environment to them.
  • Received a $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation for their work this year.
Northeast Range (Babbitt)
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Built two different hydroponic growth chambers which they used to grow basil and mint plants.
  • Sold cuttings from these plants to faculty and staff at their school, raising about $50 in sales!
  • Prepared a poster about their project for the Iron Range Earth Fest.
Northern Lights Community School (Warba)
  • Continued their work on their greenhouse project from last year by adding a hydroponic component and rainwater collection system. The food grown in their greenhouse will go to the cafeteria and any extra produce each week will be distributed to families in need within their community.
  • Completed a project analyzing the water quality of the Swan River in Warba. This included gathering baseline data on a river that flows a mere quarter mile from the school and has the potential to gather toxic runoff from sources up stream. The team chose to test for a variety of chemical properties of the river and compile their data in a report.
  • They are scheduled to present their findings about the Swam River to the Warba City Council at their next meeting so city officials are aware of the condition of the river. Plans are in place to continue to monitor the river on an annual basis and keep the City Council up to date on their findings.
  • In addition, they plan to educate their community members about the quality of the water in the Swan River.
Pine Island
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 9.48.34 AMHosted their 3rd annual Winter Fest event on Saturday, January 30. This event included winter survival and cross country ski classes in the afternoon and a trail with luminaries after dark.
  • They took a team-building adventure trip to northern Minnesota February 12-14 to learn about wildlife and northern adventures. While at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, they participated in an energy conservation challenge.
  • Every other Thursday, the team got together and collected the recycling bins from each classroom and brought them to a collection point for the custodial staff to take outside.
  • They sent out a survey to students to gauge how sustainably their peers are living, awarding points based on behaviors.
  • To raise awareness for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 19 8:30-9:30 pm, they:
    • Hosted a black out at school on Friday, March 18 from 2:21-3:09 pm
    • Showed a video on Friday, March 18 to inspire the student body to participate in Earth Hour
    • Encouraged students to wear all black on Friday, March 18
  • Organized their 2nd annual cell phone recycling collection in April to benefit Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.
  • Their YES! team adopted the North Fork of the Zumbro River that runs past their school. They did a Fall river clean-up on Sunday, October 2, 2015 and a Spring clean-up on Friday, May 13, 2016.
  • Continued their tradition of collecting recycling from the entire school on Fridays after school.
  • Expanded their efforts to include collecting the recycling from the middle school each week.
  • Planned their annual volunteer work at the Earth Day Half-Marathon in St Cloud.
  • Participated once again in the annual Coaches’ Carnival where they were able to explain what their team does as well as how they manage the recycling in their schools to over 400 grade school students.
  • Collected shoes throughout their district for the World Wear Project.
  • Worked with school administration to replace stryofoam bowls in the lunch line with reusable ones. These will be used by the students in the high school and middle school.
  • Installed 8 Vending Misers on the vending machines throughout their school.
  • Addressed food waste in their cafeteria by installing a “Sharing Bin”, in which students can put fruit and other items they don’t want to eat so other students can take them, rather than just throwing them away.
  • The team also volunteered to pick up trash and recyclables after their homecoming parade this year. They walked behind the rest of the parade with signs advertising their club and their World Wear shoe collection. They also collected any trash and recyclables from the parade route, filling almost 3 bags of garbage.
  • NJPA RoyaltonPresented at the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) ‘Building the 21st Century Workforce’ on the skills the students learn by participating in the YES! program and other programs at their school.
  • Planned a trip to Italy to share what they have accomplished and learn more sustainability best practices to bring back to Royalton. The trip is scheduled for next March!
  • In an effort to gather more information about the new greenhouse they are building, they toured the Happy Dancing Turtle campus located outside of Pine River to learn more about greenhouse design and sustainable living. They also went to New London-Spicer High School to look at their greenhouse and discuss its construction. They then researched and designed a model using an architectural design program to try to make it totally sustainable through the use of photo voltaics and vacuum thermal solar.
  • Planned and implemented a community Eco Fair with the collaborative effort of their mayor. Their 8th grade students presented research projects related to climate change at the Eco Fair.
  • Planted trees and shrubs for their city through a grant from MN DOT.
  • Implemented a milk carton recycling project at their elementary school.
  • Concentrated on developing signs in recycling areas throughout their building in an effort to enhance usage and make their recycle system more efficient.
  • Did a compost research project so that they can introduce composting into their new building next year.
  • Participated in the MTEEA Supermileage competition with their electric vehicle.
  • Moved their used oil collection site to make it more visible to their public.  Usage of the site has increased since the move took place.
  • Continue to improve and maintain their outdoor classroom.
  • Participated in a community-wide cleanup including providing spring cleaning and maintenance services to the city and the public.
  • Helped with a wildflower planting on the prairies of the Crane Meadows National Wildlife Preserve.
  • Worked with the janitorial staff at their school to research and choose new recycling stations to be located throughout their new school building.
  • Participated in the annual solar boat regatta in Eden Prairie.
  • Developed a shoe collection site this year.
Sartell Middle School
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.10.20 PMThey’re a new YES! team!
  • Developed a YES! week with mini lessons on reducing one’s impact on the environment.
  • Designed a project on bike safety education for 4th graders in order to encourage the students to bike to school more often and thereby lesson their pollution.
  • Worked to purchase a hydration station and additional bike rack for their school.  This included presentations to their school administration.
  • Planted a pollinator garden and additional trees on their school campus.
Sleepy Eye (Public and St. Mary’s)
    • photo 1The 201516 school year has been a year of maintenance and expansion of existing programs and activities including:
    • Party in the Park: Students hosted a game where participants needed to throw items in the correct bins to educate them on recycling, composting, and land-filling.
    • Grassroots Gathering: Students sold raffle tickets for a compost and rain barrel bin.
    • Planned an Earth Week with lessons taught by YES! Team members in preK – grade 6 classrooms.
    • Continued and expanded recycling activities:
      • Holiday Lights in Motion: students pulled off old light bulbs and recycled them, replacing them with LED bulbs, dismantling 100-200 pounds of string.
      • Students collected 900 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
      • Collected plastic bottles for recycling.
      • Did locker-clean outs to ensure that school supplies are re-used and recycle-able materials are recycled.
      • Addition of 12 more recycling bins and reminder signage.
      • Strung together all plastic containers placed in recycling bins at Saint Mary’s over a three day period and calculated the impact of their recycling habits.
    • Worked to decrease waste:
      • Looked to find alternative ways of serving lunch to reduce excessive waste.  Styrofoam trays are currently being used because the school lacks the money for dish washing staff.
      • Pushed use of hydration stations in their school to reduce the amount of bottled water used.
      • Working to have teachers cancel their duplicate catalogs received at school and reuse on-sided paper to reduce extra paper waste.
      • Added energy saving and waste reduction signs by light switches and recycling bins.
    • Worked on energy savings:
      • Helped to promote LED lighting.
      • Maintained and installed energy misers.
      • Maintained and installed energy efficient lighting.
      • Continued to enter data into the B3 database.
  • Springfield YES! TeamSponsored a pop tab collection in k-12 classrooms for the Ronald McDonald House.
  • They collected 618.8 pounds of holiday lights for recycling.
  • Hosted a YES! Run on April 30.  The route showcased previous projects, educating participants on the influence the team has had in the community.  Registration fees were donated to water.org to raise money for communities to have access to safe water.
  • Worked to refurbish over 30 solar lights in order to be able to install them around school sidewalks, courtesy of the $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation.
St. Cloud Apollo
  • Worked to sustain the organics recycling program they started at the school last year. This included redesigning the lunch room to make it easier for students to use the correct bins and working with the art department to paint some large murals on the wall depicting what items go where.
  • Engaged in announcements and activities related to Earth Day.
  • Collected and recycled approximately 1,500 plastic shopping bags.
  • Continued to encourage use of the hydration stations in their school.
St. Cloud North Junior High
  • They’re a new YES! team!
  • Worked with custodial staff to help with recycling and adding recycling bins into new addition of the school building.
  • Hosted a week-long event around Earth Day, including a blackout day/hour, a ‘Kahoot’ interactive quiz game on recycling, educational posters and presentations, and a trash audit. They also had themed dress-up days designed to spark conversations about various topics related to sustainability.
  • Their team, along with other interested students, staff, and community members, seeded and planted a whole new start to a 9,000 square foot rain garden.
Tommy Lee_WWG_Env education_2.2016 WWG_Env education_2.2016_2Westbrook-Walnut Grove
  • Organized their 2nd annual Pop Tab Collection.  A total of 6 schools participated, and they raised money for the Avera McKennan Ronald McDonald House at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.
    • All schools collected a combined total of 207,056 pop tabs.
    • Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School won the competition with a total of 73,817 pop tabs.
  • Built solar pop can heaters, courtesy of the $1,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation.
  • Collected over 26,800 plastic bags for recycling.
  • Continued to check school trash cans for recyclables weekly.  Since starting the project this fall, they saw a reduction in the amount of recyclables that were thrown away, thanks to their education efforts.
  • Continued to monitor the 6 Bottle Bins for collected aluminum cans in their school and donate the cans to the city to raise money for improvements.
  • Continued to enter data into the B3 database.
  • Continued to maintain the used oil collection site in Westbrook.
  • Designed and built trombe walls, which will be used to offset heating costs on days when there is a large fluctuation in temperature from day to night.
  • The team presented to students in kindergarten through 3rd grade at WWG Elementary on recycling and impact from landfills.
Yellow Medicine East
  • Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.37.21 PMOnce again worked on a community garden with their local elementary school. They have 8 students registered to have 6′ x12′ garden plots where they can plant a variety of produce.
  • Worked to start an orchard of apple and pear trees. They plan to use the fruit in their school lunch program.
  • Their school received a grant to build a greenhouse and they are working to help generate ideas and planning this greenhouse.