Jennifer Matt, Earth Club mentor at Medicine High School, and Grade 12 student Bethany Klein pose with a grow tower with dill, basil and parsley growing. Other towers grow micro-greens such as red cabbage, lettuce and pea shoots. Six aeroponic grow towers were put in the school by the Earth Club during the pandemic to enhance the planet and the mental health of students. The Earth Club encourages all students and staff to harvest food from the grow towers. NEWS PHOTO SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Next month six members from the Earth Club at Medicine Hat High School, along with two teachers, will be attending a Youth Water, Energy and Climate summit, or Generate/Navigate conference, in Canmore.

Participants from a diverse range of schools across the province will be attending the conference. Jennifer Matt, Earth Club mentor, who helped found the club at the school in 2018, said, “Usually they have a large amount of applications. We are very lucky to be one of the 20 groups that were accepted.”

The conference hasn’t been held since 2019 due to the pandemic. Normally, the event rotates between three different conferences. This year, Generate and Navigate are two conferences put together and participants will be split into two groups. One group will be doing the Water Innovation conference and the other will do Energy Innovation.

“We essentially get to do two different conferences at once and then come together to work on our project,” explained Matt. “It’s a jam-packed, exciting experience where top leaders in energy and innovation get to teach us about ways we can integrate different portions into our own lives. We can take those things and bring them back to Earth Club.”

Inside Education, which runs the conference, will pay for food, accommodation and travel as long as the programs designed at the conference are implemented. The recycling program at Hat High was put in place following the 2019 conference.

Bethany Klein, a member of the Earth Club, started attending in 2020 when she was in Grade 10. To decide who gets to go to the conference, members went through a selection process that involved a supplemental application where they had to explain why they wanted to go and why it was important to them.

“Earth Club look at things they can do around the school that will help the Earth and all her inhabitants,” said Klein.

Some recent additions are six grow towers and various plants, “Because they are green and lively, they promote the mental health of students in the school. That’s one way we help the Earth and clean the air while helping the students’ mental health.”

Klein is hoping to go into environmental or marine science after she graduates.

“One of the key things is we are going to be taking our energy to the conference and our passions for these topics,” she said. “We are going to be with a bunch of other people, especially youth, who have the same passions as us. We are hoping that all of us putting our passions together will really accelerate the change we are able to make.”

By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Feb 21, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Medicine Hat News   Medicine Hat, Alberta

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