Auburn KIDS Consortium to host conference

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AUBURN — Hundreds of K–12 students from across New England, including third-grade students from Sherwood Heights Elementary School, will gather at the University of New Hampshire, Durham Campus, on May 25–26 for the 10th annual KIDS Consortium Student Summit on Service-Learning.

They will celebrate their work solving real problems faced by their schools and communities through service-learning, a teaching method that links community projects with academic studies. The event’s theme, “Green Thumbs” Up for Green Schools, is part of a Green Schools initiative that also funded 35 mini-grants awarded to New England schools.

Attendees from more than 30 schools across Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont will share their results and ideas for future work. The 2010 Summit will mark the first time that New York schools have participated.

KIDS Consortium, based in Auburn, works with teachers, administrators and students to involve students in addressing real challenges faced by their communities. Through service-learning, students identify, research and work to address local community needs. With guidance from KIDS, teachers match those projects to school curricula, providing a powerful hands-on learning experience that improves the community and brings academics to life. For more information, visit www.kidsconsortium.org.

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From elementary students who established a schoolwide composting program, to middle school students who worked to reduce invasive species in a local wetland, to high school students who started a school garden, youth teams throughout New England have made their schools and communities more environmentally sustainable. These student teams will all give oral presentations and display exhibits at the Green Schools Student Summit this year.

Through these service-learning projects and the opportunity to present at the tudent summit, youth learn to be communicators, problem-solvers and active members of their community. This year, major corporate sponsors are State Farm Insurance and Downeast Energy.

“It’s exciting to see so many young people thinking about the environment and engaged in driving positive action to make their schools greener. These young leaders are not just our future—they’re also our present,” said Marvin Rosenblum, founder of KIDS Consortium.

The keynote speaker, Cameron Wake, is a research associate professor with the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at UNH. He will speak about climate and environmental change and how the actions of individuals can make a difference.

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