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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

National Energy Foundation: Fostering Student Debate on Utah’s Air Quality

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Janet Hatch, Guest Blogger – DEQ

DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community.

Imagine a distinguished group of external panelists assembled at the Utah State Capitol. Their purpose is to take energy questions from an audience comprised of government and community experts. Little did they know that two fifth grade girls would emerge from the crowd and surprise everyone with a complex question and follow-up inquiries!

Since 1991, the Utah Debate program has inspired students in grades four through nine to develop a deep understanding of issues related to Utah’s energy and water resources and the environmental landscape. During the current school year, Utah school administrators, the National Energy Foundation, and UCAIR collaborated to engage students in the study of Utah’s air quality.

An informational conference introduced the year’s debate-resolution topic. Study culminated in the spring with regional and state debate meets. Most importantly, it produced students with the ability to communicate complex aspects of Utah’s air quality as well as the research and critical-thinking skills to produce solutions for the future.

During the school year, Utah educators participated in the Road to Clean AirWorkshops sponsored by the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development for the Wasatch Front series, and by Utah State University,Washakie Renewable Energy, and Utah Clean Cities for the Cache Valley Educator Workshop. These teachers took lesson binders and supply kits back to the classroom to provide hands-on, STEM-based learning to an estimated 7,252 students. (…)

To read more, please visit DEQ.