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DL student chosen for youth summit

Detroit Lakes High School sophomore Connor Yamane was chosen to participate in the 2014 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. DL NEWSPAPERS/Pippi Mayfield

For most of his young life, Connor Yamane has been interested in wildlife. Now, as a teenager, he has an opportunity to learn about wildlife and the environment from top professionals.

Yamane, a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School, has been chosen as a national youth delegate for the 2014 Washington Youth Summit on the Environment June 22-27.

“A teacher nominated me based on academics,” He said, though he has no idea which teacher nominated him.

According to the summit’s website, the program is for sophomores and juniors who are nominated “based on strong academic performance, a demonstrated interest in the environment, conservation and sustainability fields, and with the desire to explore careers in the fields of environmental science, conservation, policy, law and engineering.”

Though the description fits Yamane, before he was chosen for the program, Yamane said he had never heard of it.

“I got the letter in the mail and thought it sounded cool.”

Flying in on Sunday, June 22, Yamane will meet up with 250 other students from throughout the United States and visit an array of sites throughout the week while in D.C.

A few of the many sites they will see include the Smithsonian National Zoo, national aquarium, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, U.S. Capitol, National Geographic Society and several discussions on various topics.

“We get to listen to lectures on climate change, topics of the environment,” he said.

Having an interest in wildlife since he was young, Yamane said he’s excited to learn even more on this trip.

“I’ve always been interested in science and biology.”

He said he’s looking forward to the Smithsonian Zoo and aquarium the most.

While on the trip, Yamane and the other students will be staying in the dorms at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., which hosts the summit.

Also while at the youth summit, Yamane is encouraged to keep a blog about his experiences, which he said he plans to do. People can follow him, and he’ll be able to keep a log of what’s going on each day for future memories.

Yamane also gets one college credit for participating in this trip.

While he has traveled a lot with his family, this will be Yamane’s first experience flying alone. It’s something he’s not too worried about, though. And he certainly won’t be worried about being alone once he’s immersed with all the other students.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I like meeting new people. They’ll probably be a bunch of science nerds like me.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.