The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program is a network of science centers, zoos, schools, nonprofits, city agencies, and other organizations that host Youth Climate Summits. During these summits, high school students develop climate action plans for their schools and communities after engaging in climate change science and solutions exercises. Summit participants are connected to each other over the next year to provide support to one another while they implement their climate action plans. In the past, youth have established a single-stream recycling program in a school district, conducted carbon audits, and held carbon neutral proms. The Youth Climate Program’s values and principles include a commitment to place-based, action-oriented, solutions-focused, youth-driven, hopeful, and equitable summits. Each summit reflects regional climate change impacts and local, sustainable solutions.
The Youth Climate Program shares a toolkit so that youth can initiate programs in their own communities. The toolkit contains resources to help youth plan a summit, involve local stakeholders, and organize to address local priorities. The toolkit also includes sample agendas, budgets, and other planning tools to help youth customize an event in their local contexts. Program evaluations are also a part of the toolkit, these evaluation results help youth improve on their practice and help share findings with their participants.