February 23, 2021 through March 22, 2021

The Climate Summit is a FREE, virtual learning experience that includes opening and closing plenaries with keynote speakers, a variety of topic focused student sessions, and teacher professional development sessions held over a four-week period.

At the Climate Summit, students and their teachers will participate in live virtual sessions to learn about actionable ways to address the climate crisis. The summit will energize and motivate students as they begin to think about the impact of climate change on their own lives and what they can do to address it. The Climate Summit is part of the New Jersey Student Climate Challenge and concludes with the launch of the Climate Contest.


Who Can Participate?

  • Middle and high school teachers and their students from public schools located in Atlantic City Electric’s (ACE) service area. ACE’s service territory includes parts of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem counties.
  • Schools serving students in grade 6 and above. View the list of eligible schools here.
  • Based on the success of this pilot project, the project partners hope to implement the New Jersey Student Climate Challenge statewide in the 2021-2022 school year.


Session Schedule

  • View the Climate Summit Session Schedule.
  • The Opening and Closing Plenary sessions are scheduled from 1:00pm to 2:30pm.
  • All other student sessions will be scheduled from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.
  • Teacher professional development sessions will be 90 minutes long and will be held in the late afternoon and/or evening time frame.
  • Time will be provided in the live sessions for interactions with the speakers.
  • Participants can attend the sessions of their choosing.
  • Session recordings will be accessible on the Sustainable Jersey for Schools website within two days of the live session.                                                                                                                           

Opening Plenary

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:00pm - 2:30pm

  • New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Murphy
  • Dave Velazquez, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings which includes Atlantic City Electric
  • Randall Solomon, Executive Director, Sustainable Jersey

Keynote Address

Caroline Lewis
, founder of The CLEO Institute, will discuss the importance of climate change education and action and the power of youth participation. Lewis has been recognized as a White House Climate Resilience Champion of Change and as one of the 31 most influential people in the South by TIME magazine.


Closing Plenary

Monday, March 22, 2021 1:00pm - 2:30pm

  • Robyn Brenner, Executive Director, The Drumthwacket Foundation
  • Andrea Drewes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling, Rider University
  • Randall Solomon, Executive Director, Sustainable Jersey
  • Natasha Iqbal, Student, Egg Harbor Township High School

Keynote Address


Lynne Cherry is the producer/ director of the Young Voices for the Planet film series. The award-winning documentary films feature diverse young role models on the front lines of climate change. Ms. Cherry is the author/illustrator of 30 award-winning children’s books including best-sellers The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild. Her academic writings include a chapter in “Teaching Climate Change With Hope and Solutions: Lessons from a Film Project” in the book “Education in Times of Environmental Crisis.” (Routledge, 2016)

Jaysa Hunter-Mellers is a youth ambassador for Young Voices for the Planet. She is featured at 10-years-old in the award-winning film, Words Have Power from Young Voices for the Planet, which showcases how she became a climate change activist in her community. Now 15-years old, she is known for her dynamic speeches and achievements as a passionate advocate for environmental justice and civic education. 

Together, Lynne and Jaysa will share examples of how young people can make a difference in the climate crisis by becoming leaders, changing minds and changing the world. Jaysa will share her own experiences as a youth leader for climate activism and will introduce a youth-driven action guide that students can use to plan and implement a climate action project in their own communities.


Virtual Sessions

Live virtual Climate Summit sessions will be held for four-weeks during the school day beginning February 23, 2021. All sessions will be available on the Sustainable Jersey for Schools website. Review the Climate Summit Session Schedule for dates, descriptions, and speakers. The Climate Summit content is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and New Jersey Student Learning Standards, as well as the Sustainable Jersey actions within the Sustainable Jersey certification programs for schools and municipalities.

Topic Focused Student Sessions

  • Careers in Energy
  • Climate and Sustainability Goals for NJ
  • Climate Justice, Social Justice
  • Communicating Climate Stories
  • Energy Efficiency at Home
  • Knowing Your Food, Knowing Your Environment
  • Local Climate Action at Work
  • Renewable Energy Options
  • The Electric Vehicle (EV) Revolution

Teacher Professional Development Sessions

  • Being an Ally for Youth Driven Climate Action
  • Climate Science Primer for Educators
  • Exploring the NEW NJ Student Learning Standards for Climate Change in High School
  • Exploring the NEW NJ Student Learning Standards or Climate Change in Middle School
  • Integrating Climate Across Classrooms

Session Speakers 

Get ready to hear from over 30 clean energy and climate professionals and practitioners who will offer engaging, lively discussions. Review the Climate Summit Session Schedule for more information.

  • Alliance to Save Energy, Doug Abbott, Program Manager
  • C-Change Conversations, Kathleen Biggins, President
  • Cooper's Ferry Partnership, Meishka L. Mitchell, AICP, PP, Vice President
  • Great Minds, Missy Holzer Ph.D., Science Standards Review Specialist
  • Hundred Year Films, Jared Flesher, Documentary Filmmaker
  • New Jersey Audubon, Allison Mulch, Project Director, School Sustainability
  • New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Crystal Pruitt, Deputy Director, Office of Clean Energy Equity
  • New Jersey Department of Education, Mike Heinz, Science Coordinator
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Helaine Barr, Research Scientist Climate Change Program
  • New Jersey Pinelands Commission, Joel Mott, Principle Public Programs Specialist
  • New Jersey School Boards Association, John Henry, STEAM & Sustainable Schools Specialist
  • New Jersey Student Sustainability Coalition, JoAnna Contarino, Co-Chair
  • Penn State University, Danielle Lawson, Assistant Professor
  • Pepco Holdings, Edward Musz, Manager, Energy Efficient Programs
  • Pepco Holdings, Jennifer Grisham, Program Manager Smart Grid & Technology
  • Pepco Holdings, Stephen Sunderhauf, Regulatory Group
  • Pinelands Preservation Alliance, Rhyan Grech, Policy Advocate
  • Pinelands Preservation Alliance & Association of NJ Environmental Commissions, Isabella Castiglioni, Outreach Manager
  • Rider University, Andrea Drewes Ph.D., Assistant Professor
  • Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Sara Elnakib Ph.D., MPH, RD, Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
  • Sustainable Jersey, Randall Solomon, Executive Director
  • Sustainable Jersey, Hogan Dwyer, Research and Project Specialist
  • Sustainable Jersey, Nancy Quirk, Energy Program Manager
  • The College of New Jersey, Lauren Madden Ph.D., Associate Professor
  • The Nature Conservancy, New Jersey Chapter, Bill Shadel, Coastal Projects Manager
  • Tri-County Sustainability, Sean Mohen, Executive Director
  • U.C. Berkeley, Laney Siegner Ph.D., Climate Change Educator



Email: njstudentclimatechallenge@sustainablejersey.com


New Jersey Student Climate Challenge Partners