A Q&A with Elodie Linck
Meet a changemaker
If you happen to be near New York state’s Adirondack park, a visit to theWild Center in Tupper Lake shouldn’t be missed. It was founded in 1999 as a museum and science center, giving visitors the opportunity to reconnect with nature through wild walks, and an interactive exhibition space. Sk*p recently chatted with their Youth Climate Coordinator, Elodie Linck, to learn more about the Wild Center’s latest exhibition on climate solutions and how young people can get involved.
Tell us about the Wild Center and why it provides so many great resources for young people?
The Wild Center is a unique intersection of a science center, museum, zoo, and aquarium located in the Adirondacks. Aside from the Youth Climate Program, which we will talk about soon, The Wild Center has many great offerings for young people including in-person and virtual educational programs and resources in all of our departments, such as animal care, climate, and education. We also offer internships, fellowships, and full-time employment opportunities for recent graduates.
How did you get involved with the wild center and what role did you play at the beginning?
I first got involved with The Wild Center as a high school student. I helped plan, run, and also attend the Youth Climate Summit and Youth Climate Leadership Retreats. In college, I served as the chair of the Youth Advisory Board. On top of this, I grew up in Saranac Lake, near the museum, so I loved to visit The Wild Center and enjoy all of the interactive exhibits and experiences they had to offer.
How has your experience with The Wild Center impacted you? What has been your favorite part of the experience thus far?
My experience with The Wild Center and the Youth Climate Program has shaped the person I am today. It has influenced the way I view the world and helped me develop skills and knowledge that I value deeply and use daily. It is impossible to choose ONE favorite part, but one that comes to mind is our last “design sprint” with the solutions team where we brainstorm how to bring our exhibit ideas to life. Another would be my first ever Youth Climate Summit back in 2015!
There is a new Solutions exhibit coming to The Wild Center in July, what can people expect to see and experience?
The Wild Center is so excited to be opening a new Climate Solutions Exhibit this July! Through storytelling, the exhibit highlights individuals from the Adirondacks who are implementing climate solutions in their communities and beyond. The exhibit includes many different solutions ranging from—individual to community level examples, art, and a hands-on tinkering studio—designed to help visitors find their place in the climate solutions movement.
The exhibit highlights around 15 different climate solutions. What was the process like for finding these solutions? Can you give us a sneak peak of some of the solutions featured?
It was an incredible and challenging process implementing this new Climate Solutions exhibit. Two books that were major inspirations for us in terms of finding solutions we wanted to share wereDrawdown, edited by Paul Hawken, andAll We Can Save, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. We wanted to help visitors see that we have the solutions we need to address this major issue and help them find agency in taking action. We highlight an array of solutions: how to best insulate and power your home with renewables, the importance of gratitude as a climate solution, making the outdoors more accessible and inclusive, increasing land access to BIPOC farmers, learning more about sustainable and just food choices, and how to gather community and increase climate change education.
As you know sk*p was created with a mission to reduce plastic waste in the beauty industry. From your experience, why do you think it's increasingly important for brands to become more accountable and take an active approach in finding climate solutions?
It’s important for brands to play a role in taking action because the burden shouldn’t only fall on individuals. If more brands are making climate-friendly, sustainable choices then consumers will not need to feel the anxiety, financial burden, and stress of taking on climate change by themselves. AND the more brands making climate-focused choices, the further along we are in meeting essential climate goals!
Part of the work you do is with the youth climate program. Can you tell us a bit about the program and your role in it?
Yes! So I work primarily with theYouth Climate Program which works to convene, engage, and inspire young people to take action on climate change in their schools and communities through youth climate summits, climate action plans, and leadership development programs. In my role as The Jeanne Hutchins Youth Climate Coordinator, I focus mostly on our regional program— providing opportunities and mentorship for our Adirondack Youth Climate Leaders. I am the lead planner for our Adirondack Youth Climate Summit and Youth Climate Leadership Retreat, and I support students as they implement their Climate Action Plans in their schools and communities throughout the year. I also organize other events, field trips, and activities. I absolutely love my job!
The Wild Center is hosting a youth climate summit. What can people expect from the summit?
The Wild Center is so excited to be able to host our first in-personYouth Climate Summit since 2019! It’s a high-energy, conference-style event where young people come together to learn about climate change science, impacts, justice, and solutions. There are presentations, workshops, activities, art projects, delicious local food, and lots of fun! Students from around the area are able to come together to meet each other, share ideas and successes, as well as build community. Eventually, students work with their teams to create a Climate Action Plan, or a project addressing climate change that they want to implement in their school and/or community. Summits are incredible catalysts for change and we have had over 100 youth climate summits around the world, in more than 45 locations!
What advice do you have for young people looking to get involved in climate advocacy?
For any young person who is looking to get involved and take action on climate change and climate justice, I would first say, welcome! Join us! I would emphasize that there is a place for absolutely everyone in this space and in this work. If they are having a hard time knowing where to start, I would encourage them to consider three things inspired byAll We Can Save: 1. What brings them joy? 2. What are they good at? 3. What needs doing? Where those three things intersect (and I promise, they do) is a great place to begin. And finally, I would remind them to take care of themselves. This work is challenging and we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anything else. Also, don’t forget to find a youth climate summit near you, or check out the Youth Climate Program’stoolkit to start one yourself!