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Youth leading youth into the future

Sunday, 10 November 2019. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Youth leading youth into the future

The Pincher Creek Trailbreakers were leaders in energetic learning at their green energy expo for kids at the Maker Centre last month.

Emily Barclay gets a lesson in human-generated power systems as she uses a stationary bike to power a blender.    Photos by Jess Harrington


Youth leading youth into the future


By Jess Harrington

Members of the Pincher Creek Trailbreakers hosted a green energy expo for local Grade 5 students on Oct. 24.

In a series of sessions at the Pincher Creek Maker Centre — a multipurpose science, technology and design lab run by the club — participants went through five interactive stations where they learned about energy production, efficient energy use and renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

The Trailbreakers developed and led four of the stations with the help of Inside Education, a non-profit group that supports and promotes multiple-perspective environmental and natural resource learning in Alberta.

Enel Green Power, which owns and operates the Castle Rock Ridge wind farm in Pincher Creek and provides financial support for the Maker Centre, also helped by leading a station about wind energy.

The Trailbreakers, a teen change-making club, is focused on expanding opportunities for youth and others in the area, and helping the community move into a technology-based, sustainable future.

The club has a number of projects on the go. Already this fall, members have participated in a local climate march, hosted this expo, and secured funding to install ramps and other accessibility equipment at the Annex, where the Maker Centre is located.

Last week, as part of Experiential Learning Week at Matthew Halton High School, the Trailbreakers worked with the Clean Energy Technology Centre from Drayton Valley to develop a community energy plan for Pincher Creek.

The club also recently received funding and supplies to launch a free energy-audit program. Once this project comes to fruition, community members will be able to borrow a kit to assess how energy-efficient their homes are.

All parties involved in the expo feel the event was a success, and were thrilled to help over 70 kids learn about important issues in a fun and memorable way.

The four Trailbreakers who led the project were especially happy. They felt it was an honour to share their knowledge with the next generation.

“I don’t think kids learn enough about green energy and what’s going on with the climate in school, so it was encouraging to see these kids so engaged in learning about this stuff,” says Jacob Hampson.

Rabjot Sran agrees. “I like the idea of teaching Grade 5s, first because this is part of their curriculum, but even more I believe in hands-on learning. It was great to [provide] that.”

The Trailbreakers are always looking for new club members. The group meets every second Tuesday at the Maker Centre. Youths of all ages are invited to share their ideas to help shape the community’s future.

To find out more, email Zack Renschler, Trailbreakers president, at renschlerzack@gmail.com.


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Nathan Tanner uses a hand boiler device to explain how the application of energy (heat) can cause changes in matter — a key principle in energy production.


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Canyon School Grade 5 student Fynn Mackintosh is receptive to Nathan’s lesson. 


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Rabjot Sran explains how turbines and generators work.


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Jacob Hampson uses flashlights to charge a solar-powered toy as he explains the principles of solar energy production.