YES! Quarterly
Winter 2012
We are excited to highlight our current teams, who kicked off the season at the sixth Annual YES! Fall Summit  on October 31st. With the 2012-2013 YES! season underway, teams have been working hard on their projects, highlighted below and on our website.   

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

Wishing you all a happy holiday season! 
The YES! Staff 
 YES! in ActionAction

Westbrook-Walnut Grove (WWG)

The Westbrook-Walnut Grove YES! team has partnered with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to install and demonstrate ways to increase water and energy savings in communities throughout the region.  


Members of the Westbrook-Walnut Grove Earth YES! Class
Members of the Westbrook-Walnut Grove Earth YES! Class

Designed to increase community conservation awareness, this program teaches community members a plethora of no to low cost ways to save hundreds of dollars per year while saving the environment at the same time. 


A member of the WWG YES! team, Stephani Gundermann, commented, "YES! is a great program [and has] made me really think about how I could make the world better."


 Read more about the WWG YES! team's project.  



Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC)

ACGC students sort recycling into their stackable recycling bins

The ACGC YES! team is taking recycling to the next level with color-coded recycling containers and recycling carts dedicated to picking up recycling at each classroom in both their high school and elementary school.  


Read more about ACGC's recycling project on our blog!






Where does our used motor oil go? This is the question Royalton YES! students asked their city council. The response was "we're not sure." The students quickly identified a way to make a difference in their community. They will meet with the mayor to begin crafting a plan to collect used motor oil for Royalton residents. 



Sixth Annual YES! Fall Summit Emphasizes ConnectionsSummit


Members of the ACGC YES! Team were the winners of the costume contest at the Summit

Over 150 students and teachers from 

21 YES! teams gathered atthe Redwood Area Community Center October 31 for the sixth annual Fall Summit. This year's Summit provided a variety of energy-related experiences around the theme One You, Many Connections


Throughout the day, students were able to connect with resource experts and information to position themselves for success as they prepare to engage in team-based projects this school year that not only lead to dramatic demonstrations of renewable energy technology and conservation practices, but also build student skills like problem-solving, communication, teamwork and project management.  


Thank you to all of the businesses, organizations, and teams that participated in the YES! Fall Summit this year!  


Read about the Mankato West YES! team's reflections on the Fall Summit.  


Energy Business HighlightBusiness

Bob Ryan's Business Ventures


Russ Koopman (left) and Bob Ryan (right) founded Sunrise Agra Fuels, which sells Island Pellets, made from waste products, to burn in biomass stoves. (photo courtesy of AURI)
Bob Ryan-at the time the owner of a fireplace, stone, and cabinetry store in Hutchinson-sold a pellet-burning stove to a friend. They soon decided it would be wise to use local resources as a fuel source for the stove. This resulted in a business plan for Sunrise Agra Fuels, a company that manufactures pellets out  of soybeans, straw and sunflower hulls. 


Through this venture, Bob discovered there was a need in commercial markets for combustors that could take advantage of these new fuels. Surprisingly there were virtually no companies that manufactured this type of boiler in the United States, which resulted in the development of another of Bob's business ventures, European Energy Connections.  


Throughout Bob's working career he has been motivated to improve rural Minnesota.  Bob envisions a rural Minnesota with jobs and places where young people can thrive. Bob believes "places like Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center and programs like YES! are the frontiers, the leaders of developing these systems of sustainability and impacting the community in a positive way."


Read more about Bob Ryan's business ventures.  

Upcoming YES! EventsEvents
Winter Workshops
We are excited to once again offer Winter Workshops to YES! Teams in order to provide project specific help, hands-on learning and team mentoring. The Winter Workshop options this year include:
  • Exploring the Ethanol Industry and Automotive Design Practices-January 16th 
    Students at last year's Winter Workshop
  • Turning Waste into Energy, Recycling Systems, and Solar Tour in Alexandria-January 23rd
  • Composting and Recycling at the College of St. Benedict-January 30th 
  • Energy Reduction and Green Building in Mankato-February 6th
  • Tour Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph-February 6th
  • Greenhouse and Local Foods Tour in Milan-February 13th 
  • Composting Tour in Redwood Falls-Date TBA

Those interested in participating in any of the Winter

Workshops are encouraged to contact us

New Logo and Video Part of Southwest Initiative Foundation's New Look

The Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) has introduced an updated logo and new tagline to clearly identify SWIF's work and help inspire new and growing partnerships to continue impacting the southwest Minnesota region. 


One Connection. Unlimited Possibilities.
One Connection. Unlimited Possibilities.
The new tagline-One Connection. Unlimited Possibilities-speaks to the way SWIF works, regardless of specific programs and initiatives. SWIF is a single connection offering unlimited

possibilities to grow and promote people, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities in rural southwest Minnesota. YES! is one example of a SWIF connection that has provided unlimited possibilities for our region's youth. 

Watch SWIF's new video which highlights four other incredible examples of the impact SWIF has throughout the rural southwest Minnesota region! 


Did You Know...DidYouKnow
A Bemidji State University student works out on a ReRev elliptical machine, an elliptical machine that generates electricity.

Ever wonder how you might be able to turn the energy you expend while using an elliptical into electricity to power something like your laptop? Students at Bemidji State University did! Read about how they're doing it here

Source: Bemidji Pioneer.  
In This Issue
YES! in Action
Sixth Annual Fall Summit
Business Highlight
Upcoming YES! Events
Did You Know...
Quick Links

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YES! empowers youth to partner with their community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects.
YES! provides a unique opportunity for students to learn by engaging directly in community efforts that lead to dramatic demonstrations of renewable energy technology and conservation practices and exposes them to how science is applied in real life.

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