The MPCA partnered with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center and Wilderness Inquiry to provide career experiences for young people involved in Wolf Ridge's Students Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge (SEAK) program. The program began in 2009 as a way to give students from diverse backgrounds exposure to the field of environmental science through hands-on experiences. The MPCA invited 14 youth from Minneapolis Public Schools to learn about the types of jobs that we do here and how these careers might connect with their interests. We are excited to share our meaningful work with them.
The students are part of Fast Track Scholars, a six-week summer school program that facilitates a smooth transition for students entering high school. The course provides classroom science instruction, two weeks of science immersion at Wolf Ridge, and paid internship experience in the environmental field. The internship experiences are supported through the Minneapolis youth job program, STEP-UP, and include experiences at the MPCA and Wilderness Inquiry.
At the MPCA, students learned about many areas of work, including monitoring and protecting air and water quality. Students saw how the MPCA uses geographic information system (GIS) software to map contaminated groundwater, experimented with air quality monitoring equipment, explored water monitoring techniques at Minnehaha Creek, toured the air lab, and ate lunch with a staff member.
As part of their three day exploration at the MPCA, students also staffed a booth at the University of Minnesota farmer’s market and talked to visitors about the benefits of organics recycling and curbside collection in Minneapolis.