Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council offers an advanced service learning opportunity
Each year, the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council brings teens from across the state together to learn about the importance of environmental conservation and being an informed citizen.
Each year, the Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) brings teens from across the state together to learn about the importance of environmental conservation and being an informed citizen. They learn to conduct research and make recommendations to Michigan legislators on a current environmental
policy issue through a final report and presentation.
This year’s focus was to promote the responsible development of wind energy to fulfill the requirements stated in Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (PA 295). The council encouraged research of wind energy to determine potential protective regulations for Michigan’s environment and wildlife, while improving the economy and well-being of its residents.
On Earth Day, the council gave testimony to the Senate Committee of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs in support of the advancement of responsible wind energy in Michigan. M4-HYCC teens presented the following list of policy recommendations and actions based on their intensive research conclusions:
- Use Danish style turbines for the regulation of wind turbines in Michigan.
- Support legislation protecting birds and bats from wind turbines and research further into their migration patterns.
- Pass Senate Bills 1067 and 1066.
- Extend the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard.
- Increase the capacity of Michigan wind turbines.
- Implement a feed-in-tariff for wind energy as well as other laws providing financial incentives for wind energy on commercial and private levels.
- Support the manufacturing of wind turbines in Michigan to further our economy.
- Support the training of Michigan wind turbine technicians to create new jobs and maintain wind turbines for years to come.
- Establish state turbine ordinances modeled after existing Michigan township/county regulations.
- Support new technology for off-shore wind turbines to avoid excessive maintenance.
- Support educational resources for wind energy from Michigan State University’s Land Policy Institute and Michigan State University Extension.
The teens participated in a follow-up discussion in May to create a plan for passing Senate Bill’s 1066 and 1067. They discussed creating an educational guide on wind energy development for Michigan citizens. and suggesting to the Michigan Department of Education they incorporate renewable energy into high school benchmarks.
As of last August, the two Senate bills are still in Committee. M4-HYCC presented the educational guide idea to the MSUE Citizen Planner Program. M4-HYCC members will follow-up on these actions when they meet in October.
M4-HYCC members also had the opportunity to help the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative review the impact of turbines on bird and bat populations. They reviewed the bird/bat protection protocols of other states for commercial wind turbine facilities and contributed their opinions on the development of Michigan’s protocols. The Wind Wildlife Technical Work Group has the task of creating Michigan’s protocols to prevent wildlife destruction. They are currently requesting citizen input from the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative. The Wind Wildlife Technical Work Group serves in an advisory capacity to the Michigan Wind Working Group facilitated by Bureau of Energy Systems, Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.
The 2009-2010 M4-HYCC teen members were Susan Smith, Mecosta County; Kara Hodges, Cass County; Christine Galloway, Chippewa County and Margaret Spens, Presque Isle County.
Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council (M4-HYCC) provides unique environmental leadership opportunities for teens, ages 13 to 19, interested in natural resources, environmental problems and/or politics. The application deadline for 4-H county youth and adult advisors is October 1. County staff may complete their section and submit it to the M4-HYCC coordinator by October 8. For more information, visit http://web1.msue.msu.edu/4h/m4hycc.html or contact your county 4-H staff