Roots and Shoots prepares for local outreach

Grant helps club make change


Noah Orloff

Senior Roots and Shoots leader Katie Christiansen and sophomore member Zoe Frank discuss the club's upcoming residential and business outreach plans during a meeting Feb. 5. According to Frank, Roots and Shoots meets on Tuesdays.

Amaia Barajas, Jenna Cook, and Noah Orloff

Sophomore Roots and Shoots member Zoe Frank said Roots and Shoots currently has a responsibility to make sure the Climate Action Plan’s expectations are met.

“We talked about new ways we can help implement solar energy and renewable sources, which will help achieve the Climate Action Plan’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040, and complete renewable energy sources throughout St. Louis Park by 2030,” Frank said. “This school year we have mostly worked on implementing the Climate Action Plan whereas last year and the years before (we) have been mostly for developing it.”

Larry Kraft, who is a core team member for iMatter and also helps advise Roots and Shoots, said that during the Roots and Shoots meeting Feb. 5, the club discussed how a recent grant will affect their future endeavors.

“We talked about a grant that was received by iMatter, Great Plains Institute and Solar United Neighbors,” Kraft said. “As part of that grant, students at the high school involved in Roots and Shoots — and I think it could be up to college as well — can get training on renewable energy and solar. Then a number of them will go out and reach out to residents to help to educate residents of St. Louis Park about opportunities to use renewable energy.”

According to Frank, Roots and Shoots is preparing to discuss environmental issues with residents throughout the community.

“We haven’t actually done much residential outreach because we’re still preparing our substance for before we go and speak to them like looking for reports on how much solar potential their houses have and it is in the works,” Frank said. “We’re just trying to get as much information to reach out to people as we can before we go out.”

Senior Roots and Shoots leader Katie Christiansen said the club will be recruiting other students to help talk to residents.

“The other thing that Roots and Shoots is starting to plan for is classroom presentations at the high school. We’re looking for some high school students to do door knocking,” Christiansen said.

Frank said her aspirations for Roots and Shoots include notifying more people about potential ways to save energy.

“In the next couple of years, I hope that we reach out to businesses and St. Louis Park residents more and just help keep pushing the Climate Action Plan’s goals forward,” Frank said.

According to Kraft, Roots and Shoots has been able to speak to multiple institutions already.

“In terms of business outreach, we’re kind of getting started in that and had a few businesses that have signed up to support the Climate Action Plan,” Kraft said.

Kraft said the work that Roots and Shoots has done thus far has had a strong impact on St. Louis Park.

“I think Roots and Shoots is incredibly important,” Kraft said. “It was the students at Roots and Shoots that really changed the course of St. Louis Park forever a few years ago (by) getting the city to first commit to creating a Climate Action Plan, and then actually to work with the city and the consultant that the city hired to create the Climate Action Plan — that is the most aggressive Climate Action Plan in the state of Minnesota and has changed the way the city operates.”

According to Christiansen, Roots and Shoots is currently working on an activity within the high school.  

“We noticed a lot of recycling wasn’t actually recycled, and that wasn’t our custodians’ fault. They couldn’t recycle a lot of it because … people were throwing trash in the recycling. So last year we started a combined effort with (facilities manager) Tom Bravo and the custodians, and we thought if we could get Park students to recycle and separate trash and recycling properly, then the custodians would recycle all the stuff they could,” Christiansen said. “So kind of what our project is on right now is creating boxes that we can send out to teachers for recycling.”

According to Kraft, Roots and Shoots meets on Tuesdays before school.