CCE Voices: Catskills Youth Climate Summit & Earth Day

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

—Gaylord Nelson

Catskills Youth Climate Summit

Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Inspired by the activist movement, Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to bring awareness to environmental issues. Fifty years on, Earth Day is more relevant than ever as the impacts of climate change are felt across New York state and the rest of the country.

From the shores of Long Island, to the Delaware Watershed, to upstate vineyards, to working with communities to achieve Climate Smart certification, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s role in building climate resiliency is some of the most important work we do.

CCE Delaware hosts an annual event for high school and middle school students at Frost Valley YMCA Camp in Claryville, N.Y. The Catskills Youth Climate Summit brings together youth from 14 school districts to learn about climate change and how they can lead climate actions in their school and community. Workshops and activities focused on 4 tracks: recycling, water, science and earth and were presented by experts like Cornell University College of Engineering Professor Anthony Ingraffea.

Funding for the Youth Climate Summit was provided by NOAA, Catskill Watershed Corporation, NYC DEP and NYSERDA. Student scholarships for Delaware County Schools were provided by Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. Cornell Cooperative Extension worked with funders, The Wild Center and advisory teachers and students to develop this informative and empowering program.

Planning for the 2020 Summit, scheduled for October 2nd in Oneonta, N.Y., is underway.