FirstLight Launches Valley Climate Champions Program for Franklin County Teachers and Students

The company to offer seven $1,000 grants to engage local middle and high schoolers on the region’s growing clean energy sector and highlight the urgency of climate change

NORTHFIELD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In celebration of Earth Day, FirstLight Power, a leading clean power producer and energy storage company, announced today that the company is launching the Valley Climate Champions education grant program. The program was created to engage Franklin County middle and high school teachers and students on the region’s growing clean energy sector and to highlight the urgency of climate change. The program will include a total of seven $1,000 grants available to high school and middle school teachers – one grant for each of the Franklin County school districts and Franklin County Technical School. An additional $2,000 will be awarded to the grant recipient with the best end product presented in the Spring of 2022, chosen by a selection committee.

“As the largest clean energy producer in New England, FirstLight is honored to engage Franklin County teachers and students on the importance of sustainability and increase awareness of climate change through the Valley Climate Champions Program,” said Alicia Barton, CEO of FirstLight. “This new grant program builds on our long-standing investments in educational programming in Franklin County. Through our engagement with local teachers and students, we hope to identify and empower future leaders of our clean energy workforce and encourage conversations around our changing climate and visions for an equitable clean energy future. ”

FirstLight’s Valley Climate Champions Program asks that eligible teachers apply through an online application form by July 30, 2021. In this application, teachers will share their preliminary approach and will outline how they plan to engage students on the positive impact of clean energy on the region, including highlighting local jobs in the renewable energy sector, energy equity, environmental justice, and other relevant topics.

“FirstLight’s Valley Climate Champions Program is an extraordinary way for our local high school and middle school students to build the necessary skills to become the next generation leaders in our fight against climate change and to be part of our region’s clean energy transition,” said Yves Salomon-Fernandez, President of Greenfield Community College (GCC). “GCC is proud to be an advisor to this program, which will allow Franklin County students to weigh in on the important issues facing our communities, including environmental justice, increasing awareness about sustainable technologies and climate science, and exploring the clean energy workforce –a growing industry that employs people right here in the Valley.”

FirstLight is looking for students’ thoughts on how they think these pressing topics are important to them and their communities. The final product can consist of interviews, projects, or another relevant area that is of interest to them; creativity is encouraged! FirstLight will announce the recipients of the grants before the start of the 2021 fall semester.


FirstLight Power (FirstLight) is a leading clean power producer and energy storage company in New England with a portfolio that includes nearly 1,400 megawatts of pumped-hydro storage, battery storage, hydroelectric generation, and solar generation – the largest clean energy generation portfolio in New England today. Based in Burlington, MA, with operating offices in Northfield, MA and New Milford, CT, FirstLight provides stewardship of and recreational access to 14,000 acres of land and waters along the Connecticut, Housatonic, Shetucket, Still, and Quinebaug Rivers. To learn more, visit


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