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Western Spirit partners with Hope Academy offering Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership Program

A view of Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Western Spirit joins sustainable planet effort with Smithsonian Affiliations
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West in partnership with Hope Academy High School hosted a select group of 12 students from Hope Academy involved in the Smithsonian Affiliations Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership program.

As part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Life on a Sustainable Planet initiative, EOYAL is a project-based educational program that seeks to inspire and support Title 1 high schools in taking action for their communities and the environment, according to a press release.

Along with their colleagues from 12 other high schools, seven Smithsonian Affiliates, and the World Wildlife Fund, Hope Academy has designed and executed their unique action plans that have brought together community partners from specializations in the arts, sciences, and education, the release states.

Hope Academy’s leading-edge educational model is a precedent for high schools seeking to adopt sustainable practices, community engagement opportunities, and career readiness for future jobs.
“The decision for Western Spirit to partner with the EOYAL program was ideal,” said Western Spirit Executive Director and CEO Todd Bankofier.

“We are committed to being a frontrunner in Arizona and the Southwest region for museum sustainability. Becoming LEED Gold Certified in 2016, the museum utilizes 38% less energy than the baseline code requirement. Along with a rainwater collection system, 100% of the HVAC condensation is reused to water the plants on the museum campus. Likewise, aligned with Western Spirit’s vision to ‘inform, educate, inspire, and engage,’ EOYAL is one of the many educational programs the museum supports to promote youth engagement in the arts, conservation, and regional history.”

For the most recent program held earlier this month, Lane Mann (Hope Academy Instructional Leader) and Adrian de Alba (MCRSD – assistant superintendent of instruction and student services) will introduce Hope Academy and its educational model to representatives from the Smithsonian.
This was followed by a student panel sharing their project experiences, emphasizing student voices and encouraging supporter interaction and discussion. Artifacts highlighting learning modules, field trips, and project action plans will be displayed.

“It is beautiful to see teenagers so passionate about helping secure a better tomorrow for themselves. At museums, we educate about the past to better shape the future,” said Drew Stringer, Western Spirit Education Manager. “There will be tough times, but watching the ingenuity and the creativity of this group of high school students, I can see there’s is hope for this planet, and it will definitely be in the right hands.”

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