What started in the Adirondacks has grown to an internationally-recognized program. Track our progress, and learn about the hard work and adventures that happened along the way.

YCS History

2008
Mar 07

First Climate Change Event at The Wild Center

The Wild Center holds invitation-only national climate conference with science leaders from across the country, as well as some students. The conference left one student, Zach Berger, asking “why everyone [at the Summit] was so old.”

2009
Nov 09
2011
Feb 15

First Youth Climate Summit Outside of the Adirondacks

A team of Wild Center staff, teachers, and students traveled to Finland to support a Youth Climate Summit at the Heureka Science Center.

2014
Dec 03

Recognition from the White House

 The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy highlighted the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit as one of nineteen key initiatives around the country.

2015
Feb 01

Champions of Change for Climate Education & Literacy

Director of Climate Initiatives, Jen Kretser, and Gina Fiorile, AYCS alumni, are recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as “Champions of Change for Climate Education and Literacy.” Gina was recognized not only for her AYCS involvement, but also for inspiring and starting a Youth Climate..Read More

Feb 01

White House Champions of Change

Director of Climate Initiatives, Jen Kretser, and Gina Fiorile, AYCS alumni, are recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as “Champions of Change for Climate Education and Literacy.” Gina was recognized not only for her AYCS involvement, but also for inspiring and starting a Youth Climate..Read More

Oct 26

International Leadership

Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe, along with Meadow Hackett and Erin Weaver, two AYCS student leaders, attended the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris in October 2015. As part of the Forum, they led a workshop for international participants on Summits and how to start them in their home countries. Additionally,..Read More

Dec 31

Youth Climate Summits Take Off

The Youth Climate Summit model starts to take off, with new summits starting in Detroit, Seattle, Houston, and Burlington, VT.

2016
Oct 05

UL Innovative Education Award

The Youth Climate Program receives a UL Innovative Education award, one of only five sites in North America selected. 

2017
Jan 20

Youth Climate Summit in Sri Lanka

An international Youth Climate Summit was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Wild Center travels to Sri Lanka with a team of students and staff to assist with summit facilitation.

Oct 01

NOAA Grant Received

The Wild Center is one of two locations across the United States awarded a three-year $494,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Literacy Grant Program. This award focused on increasing climate literacy in New York State through partnerships with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Delaware County, Brooklyn’s Kurt..Read More

Dec 31

Youth Climate Summits Expand

 The Youth Climate Summit model continues to grow with 17 new sites around the world.

2018
Sep 12

Global Climate Action Summit

Jen Kretser, Gina Fiorile and Silas Swanson (2 youth climate alumni) participate in the Global Climate Action Summit in California, an event to convene leaders around the world to limit warming to 1.5C, the target in the Paris Climate Agreement.

2019
Feb 09

AYCS Alumni Recognized

 AYCS alum Gina Fiorile is recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education’s 30 Under 30 program for her work starting the Vermont Youth Climate Summit at the University of Vermont. 

Jul 15

Teacher Programming Expands

 The Youth Climate Program expands teacher programming with the first residential Summer Institute for Teachers held outside of Lake Placid. Over 30 teachers attend from across New York State. 

Dec 31

Youth Partner With Local Government

Work with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Community program expands. Youth partner with local governments in 5 communities throughout New York State after learning about the Climate Smart Community program at a Youth Climate summit presentation.