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Local students take a closer look at climate change

MINERVA - Science students from Minerva, Newcomb and Indian Lake met at Minerva Central School (MCS) last week to explore how they fit into the global climate change issue at their first ever Climate Summit.

Curt Stager, a professor and climate change expert from Paul Smith's College, presented the facts of climate change to the students. He encouraged students to ask the question: "What does this mean for me and for the rest of the world?"

"If we look to the long term and ask the right questions, we can come up with strategies and possibly some solutions," he said. "It is your generation that will be responsible for this."

Bruce Hodgson, math and MST teacher at MCS, spearheaded the summit after some inspiration he received at a College For Every Student (CFES) convention. CFES is a nonprofit organization committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance of underserved youth so that they can prepare for, gain access to, and succeed in college.

Post-convention, Hodgson applied for and received a $500 grant to conduct research about the energy used by MCS and then culminate the project at a Climate Summit.

"The goal is for students to create a climate action plan for their schools to help reduce their carbon footprint," said Heidi Kelly, MCS principal.

Hodgson's eighth grade class recently visited SUNY ESF in Newcomb to learn about phenology and global climate change and were surprised by their research results.

"They found that MCS uses much less energy than they thought," said Hodgson. "They were shocked."

Stager encouraged the students to get involved with climate change, no matter their stance on the controversial issues.

"We will decide the climate future by doing something or by doing nothing," he said. "Educate yourselves and support the cause with your money, your words and your lifestyle. Without strong public support, nothing will come of this."

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