EASTHAMPTON — As the city awaits its final draft of the climate action plan, Easthampton’s youngest artists are being asked to design its cover. The Easthampton Energy Advisory Committee and the Planning Department are seeking submissions from Easthampton residents and/or students under 18 that answer the question: how do you picture a carbon-free future for Easthampton?

“Having a cover that has been created by a young person showing their vision will serve as an immediate reminder to all who utilize the plan that the reason for this effort is to create a better future for these young people,” explained Cassie Tragert, conservation agent for Easthampton. “It will serve to set the intention for the plan users always to keep this purpose in mind.”

Although early in the process, Tragert has already had inquiries expressing interest so she’s hopeful that there will be a good number of submissions. Describe by Tragert as “a great opportunity to highlight the creativity and skill of the young people in our community,” the idea came from the collaboration of the Energy Advisory Committee, consultant Weston & Sampson, and consultation with Arts & Project Program Director Pasqualina Azzarello.

“We wanted to make sure the prompt was broad enough to allow for creative freedom while also ensuring that the submissions remain focused on representing a sustainable future and our city,” explained Tragert.

Although this type of art contest is new to the city, those involved understand how important engaging the city’s youth is around climate issues.

“We know that it’s important to find a way to include youth engagement in the development of our Climate Action Plan as current and future influencers in the direction of our city, but we also want to foster a sense of ownership of the plan and empowerment in the face of impacts from climate change,” noted Tragert. “People of all ages are always welcome to send comments, attend our outreach meetings, and participate in any way and I encourage any young person to join in if they can.”

Tragert and her colleagues plan to do more outreach events once the final draft is available, hoping to hear from a wide range of voices in the city.

“My hope is that young members of our community will be more encouraged to partake in that process as a result of this contest,” said Tragert. “The plan itself will also include actions specifically calling for new ways of engagement on climate topics through cultural events, programs with the schools, and more.”

Designs should be submitted to conservation@easthamptonma.gov as a pdf file by midnight on April 22. They should also include the application with parental permission which can be found on www.easthamptonma.gov.

Tina Lesniak
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