BoCo Youth Climate Challenge


Earlier this year, Boulder published the Boulder Climate Commitment, a document that explains how we can, and why we must, reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2050. The document is broken up into three sections: Energy, Resources, and Ecosystems (detailed below). In this contest, you get to pick a section and create a plan to address these topics and help us cut carbon out of our fossil fueled diet.

It’s important to note that though the Climate Commitment is written by and for the City of Boulder, we all know that climate change has no boundaries. These solutions can be applied Louisville, Superior, Boulder and beyond!



  1. High Performance Buildings Goal: How do we increase efficiency of buildings city wide?

  2. Clean Mobility Goal: How do we increase bicycle commuting, public transportation use, and/or use of electric vehicles?

  3. Clean Energy Sources Goal : How can we transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources for our energy needs (heating and cooling, electricity, etc.)? And how do we stimulate as much of this new energy being produced as close to home as possible?



  1. Waste Goal: How can we become a zero waste community?

  2. Water Use Goal: How can we reduce individual water usage (direct and indirect)?

  3. Food Goal: How can we support a local food system that decreases climate impacts?



  1. Urban Ecosystems Goals: How can we decrease unoccupied planting spaces and increase the urban tree canopy to capture more carbon?

  2. Wildland Ecosystems: How can we foster and support resilient wildland ecosystems? ie. How do we reduce the likelihood of wildfires? How do we help ecosystems adapt to rising temperatures?

  3. Agricultural Ecosystems : How can we maximize soil fertility and carbon sequestration of soils and the associated ecosystems of local farms?

Is there a sector missing? If you have ideas that do not fit within the above categories, create your own!


Blendspaces have been set up for each category, as well as a general blendspace for contest resources. Please add resources you like as you wish, but do not take any resources down. Find each blendspace here:

  1. General contest site

  2. Energy site

  3. Ecosystems site

  4. Resources site


Competition Submission Guidelines

Groups of 3-5 students may submit one submission per group. At least four of the following perspectives (listen in bold type) need to be represented in the proposal by addressing how the plan will benefit or support four of the groups below:

  • City Government: city planning, open spaces, law-makers

  • Local Businesses: technology, natural foods, outdoor industry, tourism, oil and gas  

  • Non-profit community: climate action groups, faith communities, community foundations

  • Arts Community: public art, music, theater

  • K-12: students, teachers

  • University: students, faculty, researchers

  • Neighborhood groups: high-income resident groups, low-income resident groups

PRIZE: A total of $500 distributed to the Grand Prize Winners. Competition Categories: High School, Middle School, Creative Choice Award (given to the team that pushed the limits of creative possibility the furthest!). 


submit the below components by the dates specified:

  • Upload project idea descriptions to the BoCo Youth Climate Challenge Master Sheet by Thursday, February 18, 2016

    • Using the information you’ve put into the Master Sheet, we will match you with a mentor by February 26th to help you refine your idea and proposal.

    • Students can still participate if they don't meet the Feb. 18th deadline.

  • Draft submissions due: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

    • Two-Page Executive Summary: The executive summary must answer the following questions:

      • What action(s) do you propose?

      • Which perspectives are represented in the proposal, and how does the proposal benefit these groups?

      • Who will take this action?

      • What are the key challenges?

      • What are the key benefits?

      • How will success be evaluated?

      • Timeline

A professional appearance with careful editing and proofreading is more important than cramming extra content in by altering margins and font size/type. Single spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman.

Please submit the Executive Summary to with subject reading, "[Your Group Name] Executive Summary"


  • Reviews and Comments from Fellows/Mentors back by Monday, March 28, 2016

  • Final submissions due: Wednesday, April 6, 2016

  • Final selections (five submissions will be chosen for final presentation event): Wed, April 13, 2016

  • Final Presentation Event: Wed, April 20th, 7-9 p.m. @ eTown, tickets available for free here. Students and teachers from all participating schools will be present, along with experts and representatives from city and county government. A panel of judges will select a grand prize winner for each middle and high school, and there will be a audience choice award as well.

    • In-person presentation: Teams will have five minutes to present and an additional three minutes for Q & A with a panel of judges. This presentation should include a creative demonstration of your climate commitment idea (eg. a prototype, video, rap, skit—impress us!).


Judging Criteria:

  • Goal Setting: A clear goal is expressed with realistic steps to achieve it. Must be consistent and well thought-out

  • Feasibility of solution: how does your project achieve your goal?

  • Creativity: how is your idea new and different?

  • Inclusivity: how does your idea include communities from all socioeconomic levels?

  • Assessment: What would success look like and how would you measure it?

  • Motivation: How would you motivate people to participate?

  • Research Based: Draws on sound research on current state of subtopic (for example, includes information on current usage of public transportation and a realistic goal for future usage)

  • Reality Check: Is the idea/plan innovative yet realistic?