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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Environmental club blooms into action

Club invites guest speakers
Rylie Unangst
Environmental club watches a climate presentation from Park Oct. 9. The club and city plan to work together in the future to better Park’s impact on the environment.

After starting out the year strong by planting a pollinator garden, Park’s environmental club is taking further steps to help around the city. On Oct. 9, guest speakers from St. Louis Park’s environmental department made an appearance to talk about programs and resources the club could implement within the school.

This year, the environmental club is focusing on expanding the community and working to implement more state and city programs. According to junior and club president Abigail Oppegaard, inviting guest speakers from the city is a good first step towards this goal.

“The environmental club last year worked a lot specifically on school issues at a smaller level, but we’re hopefully trying to get more interested in connecting with the greater community and connecting more with state programs and city programs as opposed to just being within the school,” Oppegaard said. “We thought that connecting with the city would be a first step in getting some of that information.”

Guest speaker and sustainability specialist Ellie Rabine said meeting with students is a good way to bring awareness to programs that many people aren’t aware of.

“I came to just tell these students about programs that are available because I really want to connect more with the students, and I think they have a ton of passion and great ideas. I want to be able to help them make those ideas a reality,” Rabine said. “If there’s any way for us to give them resources and kickstart projects, I want to be able to be that person.”

According to environmental club advisor Emily Rennhak, she is hopeful that Park’s environmental club will get the opportunity to try out the programs presented to them using future funding.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is the amount of grants that are available to us in the coming years,” Rennhak said. “Hopefully we can get a lot of funding for these initiatives that we want to try.”

Oppegaard said inviting speakers that work for the city has opened her eyes to all the possible ways to work towards the club’s goals.

“It solidified that there were programs that we could use to our benefit and things that we could use to push forward some of our goals,” Oppegaard said. “It was really educational and being able to find the right resources (is important) because sometimes that’s half the battle.”

In 2016, in partnership with Park students, St. Louis Park’s climate action plan was formulated with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality. According to Rabine, the students’ work back then has led to great things, and continued support from youth will continue to push them in the right direction.

“The climate action plan was because of the students that came to city council back in 2016 that presented us with it. I cannot emphasize enough how important that is,” Rabine said. “That climate action plan is the foundation of all of our work in the sustainability department at the city. It’s part of the reason I have a job. It’s part of the reason there is a consistent funding resources for these programs at the city, and it was all because of students. Having youth voices to back us up is really helpful.”

The club’s next meeting is on Monday, Oct. 16 in room C371.

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Rachel Arkis, Echo Staffer
Hey guys!! I’m Rachel, I’m a senior, and this is my third year on Echo. In my free time, I like playing tennis, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family. This year I’m looking forward to getting to know more people and running a (very profitable) freezeria with Abby Mei$ler in the pub! My goal for this year is to co-star with Abby to make the most viral video the world has ever seen. Please help us achieve this ;)
Jack Betzer, Echo Staffer
Hi, my name is Jack Betzer, I am a junior this year, and this is my first year on echo. I play hockey year ‘round and golf in the summer. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, hang out with friends, and watch movies.
Rylie Unangst, Echo Staffer
Hey!!!! My name is Rylie and I am a senior this year. I am one of the captains of the girl's lacrosse team and I manage the football team. Outside of that, I really enjoy watching movies, eating sushi, and hanging out with friends! I’m really looking forward to this year!

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