YES! Quarterly
Winter 2011

In this second edition of the YES! Newsletter, we are excited to highlight our current teams, which recently kicked off the season at the 5th Annual YES! Fall Summit on November 9th. With the kick-off underway, teams are buckling down on fantastic projects, including collecting old holiday lights for recycling. Many teams are also reaching out to local energy businesses such as the cutting edge Algaedyne Corporation of Preston, MN.

We're also marking our calendars with the next YES! events - the Winter Workshops (see specific dates below).  In the meantime, please continue to check the YES! website  for details and location information and updates on the teams' work.

Wishing you all a blessed Holiday season!

The YES! Staff


5th Annual YES! Summit Sparks Excitement

YES! student shares ideas during World Cafe session.
More than 125 students from throughout southern and central Minnesota gathered at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter on Nov. 9 for the fifth annual YES! Fall Summit. Participating students were charged with saying "yes" to each other throughout the day as they explored information and resources to support their energy conservation and renewable energy projects in their communities.

Rotating through four break-out sessions, students witnessed what has helped experienced YES! teams be successful, learned how to take energy efficiency to the next level, tapped into their entrepreneurial spirit, and tried their hand at maximizing their use of resources through an interactive game. These sessions were specifically designed to engage the students and equip them with useful information for the season.

Rothsay YES! team at annual YES! Summit.
Participants also heard what teams have worked on in the past before moving into the afternoon session. Students and their coaches alike participated in this final session of the day, titled the 'World Café', where each of them sat down with one of 26 Minnesota business and organization leaders to learn about their work and to explore questions "that matter" in energy conservation and sustainability. Ranging from plastic spoons to water conservation, these discussions crossed generation and geographic hurdles and reinforced the value of saying "yes" to one another.

Teams left filled with energy, inspiration, and buzzing with ideas for their projects for this school year. When asked for feedback on some of their discussion points, one group wrote, "You have the power of choice, you can do can make a difference," a sentiment certainly shared by many that day.


YES! in Action

Holiday Light Recycling

Nine YES! teams are currently serving as collection sites for old, used and dysfunctional holiday lights. All lights collected by YES! teams will be weighed for a collective poundage of lights collected. YES! coordinators are then picking-up lights to bring to West Central Industries (WCI) in Willmar, MN to be recycled. Copper, plastic coating and even glass from the bulbs will be processed for recycling.

As part of Recycle your Holidays™, a statewide holiday light recycling program in Minnesota, over 200 individuals with developmental disabilities are employed at vocational centers throughout Minnesota to dismantle the lights.

Now through the end of January, you can stop by one of the following locations to drop off your lights with the YES! teams:  
  • Litchfield High School  
  • Minnewaska High School (Glenwood)
  • Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School (Grove City)
  • GFW High School (Winthrop)
  • Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School (Westbrook)
  • Springfield High School,  (Springfield)
  • Redwood Valley High School (Redwood Falls)
  • Sleepy Eye High School and St. Mary's Catholic School (Sleepy Eye) 


Earth Tub en route to Springfield.

We are happy to announce that the Earth Tub was recently moved from the Carleton College campus in Northfield, MN to its new home the Springfield High School.  The Springfield YES! team applied earlier this summer for the opportunity to pilot the Earth Tub as a mid-scale composting system. Springfield's previous work with worm-composting bins, careful site selection and school staff were key factors in being chosen to pilot this form of mid-scale composting in our region.  We look forward to the installation and operation of the Tub and discovering how this may be a viable composting option for YES! teams in the future! To learn more about the Earth Tub and its previous home at Carleton College click here. Click here to read general information on the Earth Tub.  

The ACGC YES! team is also pursuing this form of composting by constructing their own Earth Tub. Constructed at the end of last season, the bin is currently up and running and receiving their school's food scraps. 


Energy Business Highlight
Blooming Opportunities for Minnesota Energy   

One of the many engaging presenters at this year's Summit event was Tom Byrne of Byrne and Company Limited and Algaedyne Corporation. From an office located in the small Minnesota town of Preston, MN, Mr. Byrne works with clients from around the world to research and implement algae as a renewable energy source.   

Started in 2008, Algaedyne Corporation's primary focus is producing renewable algal biofuels from waste streams.   Using the company's technology provides additional profitable opportunities for farmers by utilizing what would otherwise be waste products from farms and ethanol plants. The pending patents held by this company allow algae to be grown in a variety of environments and with a variety of feedstocks.  Progress continues on a pilot project in Chili, Wisconsin near a dairy operation which is designed to produce a significant amount of algal biomass.  Such a compact production lifecycle is proving to be a beneficial and realistic future for energy industries.  The potential benefits of algae seem almost limitless as it is not only being used for energy, but also for feedstock and dietary supplements.  

YES! students were introduced to the entrepreneurial spirit of Mr. Byrne as they caught a glimpse of the intricacies and intrigue of the algae business. Mr. Byrne, CPA EDFP, President and CEO of Byrne & Company, LTD, and Algaedyne Corporation, possesses great knowledge and experience in areas of business start-up and expansion. Apart from his current business operations, Mr. Byrne has served as one of the project developers of the ethanol plant in Preston, and currently serves on the board of the international Algal Biomass Organization (ABO).  In meeting a "real, live" entrepreneur, YES! students had the opportunity to envision a future where such entrepreneurial knowledge, risk-assessment and creativity can lead to a rewarding career.

We thank Mr. Byrne for supporting the YES! program and look forward to connecting with other energy businesses willing to share their expertise with YES! If you wish to learn more about Mr. Byrne or the Algaedyne Corporation, please visit their website at


Upcoming YES! Events

Winter Workshops  
  • Central YES! teams Wednesday February 1st  
    Location: St. John's University in Collegeville, MN (tentative)
  • Southeastern YES! teams
    Wednesday February 1st
    Location: TBD  
  • Southwestern YES! teams
    Wednesday February 8th   
    Location: TBD

Those interested in participating in any of the Winter Workshops are encouraged to contact us


Did You Know...
Electricity generation from wind in the United States increased from about 6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2000 to about 95 billion kWh in 2010, as improved technology has decreased the cost of production. Overall production of renewable energy in this country is at about 11 percent of all energy produced.


In This Issue
5th Annual YES! Summit
YES! in Action
Energy Business Highlight
Upcoming YES! Events
Did You Know...
Quick Links

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