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Student Voices: Finding Inspiration at Climate Summit

Student Voices: Finding Inspiration at Climate Summit

By Amy Vongvasin '25 and Kitty Zhang '24

This fall, 22 NMH students, led by seven Ecoleaders, participated in the first-ever in-person Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition summit at the MIT Stata Center.

group of students posing on steps

The day commenced early, as students boarded the bus at 7:30 am for a ride to Cambridge. At 10 am, the team arrived, checked in, and assembled in the auditorium to hear the morning speaker, Arianna Perdomo. Perdomo, who is also a high schooler, shared insights about her community in Chelsea and her environmental justice efforts with the organization Our Climate.

Following the speaker session, participants were divided into five workshops led by students or organizations. These workshops covered topics such as Lobbying 101 and Building Justice with the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project. Amy Vongvasin ’25 attended the Native Plant workshop. There, she engaged in a presentation highlighting the significance of various native Massachusetts plants and their interactions with local insects. From personal experiences and tips shared by the speaker, Audrey Brenhouse, Vongvasin learned methods to incorporate more native plants into NMH spaces, which is an initiative that the Ecoleaders are interested in implementing as one of the Climate Justice Coalition projects.

After the workshop, the irresistible aroma of Boston brick-oven pizza lured over 150 hungry participants to the main hall. Everyone joined a delicious lunch while exploring booths set up by different school clubs and organizations. The booths showcased past initiatives and provided opportunities to sign petitions, such as the petition urging Gov. Maura Healey to “Declare No Future for Gas.” Additionally, participants engaged in conversations with other passionate high school students focused on the environment, exchanging ideas on improving sustainability within their schools.

students watching presentation on large classroom

After lunch, the participants reconvened for their second workshop. Kitty Zhang ’24 attended the Biomimicry and Systems Thinking workshop. She delved into the practice of biomimicry, where humans emulate nature to solve problems sustainably. Examples included how Velcro was inspired by burr needles and how engineers looked to kingfisher birds to redesign the bullet train. Zhang was surprised by nature's wonders, drawing connections back to her Farm Semester class, where she is learning about the reciprocal relationship humans should build with the land. 

Everyone, especially those attending a climate summit for the first time, loved the experience and eagerly anticipated more opportunities with the Ecoleaders. This enriching experience made the early wake-up alarm worthwhile, leaving everyone with cherished memories!

 

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