ACE's Executive Director: Year in review + thanks

By Pic Walker, ACE Executive Director

I'm the Executive Director at ACE :: Alliance for Climate Education. As the school year winds down, I wanted to thank you for your support this past year, as well as share some successes and our plans for the next school year.

Thank You
As we reflect on the success of this past year, I want to thank you for your invaluable help and support. We chose "Alliance" as the first word in our name because we strongly believe that solving climate change will take an unprecedented level of cooperation across a diverse array of partners like you. I personally, along with the rest of the team at ACE, am deeply grateful for your support. We in no way could have had the success we did without you.

Year in Review
By any measure, ACE had a terrific first year. After our first full year of operations we've visited more than 875 schools and educated close to 450,000 high school students on the basics of climate science and what they can do to take action in their school and community.  We've provided more than $130,000 in grants and scholarships to young climate leaders and led leadership trainings with more than 400 students nationwide. Students, teachers, administrators and partners like you have raved about our program and its impact on their students and community (read reviews here). We also had the opportunity to deliver our presentation at top events around the country, including the Winter X Games, the Earth Day celebration on the National Mall, and the Governors' Conference on Climate Change.

A Look Ahead
We will continue reach as many students as possible with our core ACE Assembly - our goal for the 2010-2011 school year is half a million students.

This fall, we will launch a more robust and integrated follow-up program as we build the network of 400 Action Teams - school clubs that take on climate projects at school, anything from starting a recycling club to solarizing their school - we've started this past year in schools around the country. As part of this program, our new national DOT campaign encourages students to Do One Thing to help the environment and cool the climate. We will launch our DOT campaign this summer with the Connect the DOTs biobus tour - our mobile classroom for renewable energy and climate science that runs on recaptured vegetable oil and is equipped with solar panels to do live presentations and concerts throughout California. You can share your DOT on our DOT webpage or by texting ACE to 30644.

In addition, we will be focusing more energy on training the leaders. ACE believes that this is the generation that will solve the climate crisis. By providing peer-review science that sticks, we've taken the first step with hundreds of thousands of students, but to take the next step it will be vital to support the ones that want to step up and lead in their schools, communities and beyond. Please check our blog for the latest on ACE's programs.

Our Commitment
ACE is committed to delivering climate science and solutions to high school students throughout the country. Our Science Advisory Board has reviewed and approved all of the content of our program and has generously lent their expertise to help us create an accurate and effective presentation.

With your continued support we feel that we can collectively begin to educate everyone about the core science of climate change and inspire them to take simple actions in their own lives to make a huge difference.

Partnership - Connecting the DOTs
Harnessing the energy present in the next generation of climate change leaders is a challenge that will take focused programs and collaborative efforts. There are tens of thousands of youth-led and youth-focused climate change groups taking action - and many are visible - but their activities have been largely isolated.

At ACE, one of our main goals is to aggregate youth taking action and leadership on climate change - and to build toward large-scale change. To achieve this goal, it is vital that our program connects students with existing opportunities for involvement and connects organizations working on similar issues. We therefore rely on our partners for success. While we provide initial education and inspiration in schools, we look to our partner organizations to provide unique opportunities for interested youth.

It is often with these partners that youth gain valuable experience and engage in activities that impact them deeply. As these youth gain experience, and our partners connect, we are able to support an emerging generational shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels and toward a low-carbon economy. Thank you, partners, for your work and your support.

A Final Note
ACE been fortunate to expand our base of support this year through generous grants from a variety of individuals, foundations and government agencies, and will continue to do so in the year to come. We recently heard from partners who received false information claiming ACE is intimately tied to BP, in that all our funding and organizational oversight comes from BP. I want to clarify that ACE has no connections financially or otherwise with BP. We are an independent 501c3 with a diversity of funders, and will always develop our programs and manage the organization free from influence from outside organizations or companies. For a list of our financial supporters, please visit our website.

Thanks again for your support - we look forward to working with you in the years to come.