Past Cafes and Debriefs

Winter Walk & Talk - Sunday, January 26, 1-3 pm

IpswichRiver Watershed Association 


143 County Road, Ipswich


Explore the winter scenery along our Riverbend trails with the Climate Cafe students. Afterward, warm up inside with refreshments and excellent discussion. Learn more about Climate Cafés and what these excellent youth activists are doing to prepare communities for the future.

Honorable Harvest

Sunday, November 17th

12:00pm - 1:30 pm  

FRS Lower Church

26 Pleasant St

Newburyport MA, 01950

How do we consume in a way that does justice to others - both humans and non-humans? This question of profound concern to our Native Ancestors is instrumental in understanding how we are affecting the species around us.  Come join area high school students in conversation that matters!

Free our river

Debrief from after the meeting by a host:  

This cafe was a little different than the others. For the first time, we introduced a "controversial" topic. We talked about dam removal. We partnered with the Ipswich River Water Association to find a controlled and informative way to approach this topic. The cafe went great! The turnout was large and the conversations were intricate. We spent the first half talking about our different river stories and experiences. In one group everyone was able to bond over their shared experiences of camping in Western Mass. Another group talked about different adventures they have had kayaking on the Ipswich River. After that discussion, Noah Keller read the "Herring Story", which talked about the importance of local wildlife. After the story, we all went back to our groups, discussing ways to facilitate a conversation on Dam Removal.  One group came to the conclusion that the conversation should start in the classroom. Another group said that the best way was to find common ground. For example, the town puts on a series of events at the dam location, like the Chowder Fest, Tuesday night music, and Ipswich Illumination. These events really bring the community together and is a great way to start a conversation about dam removal. Overall the cafe was one of the best ones yet. We learned more about our beautiful environment and about ways to help it. 

Sunday, November 3rd

2:00pm - 3:30pm  

Ascension Church

31 County St

Ipswich MA, 01938

The Great Marsh Community is full of luscious and beautiful places. Many of us grew up on the Ipswich River, whether you were canoeing or swimming, the river is a place of many stories and memories. Please join the Climate Cafe hosts and IRWA in supporting the removal of our local dams. During the "Free our River" Cafe, hosts and participants will get the chance to discuss their concerns and help plan for the removal of the Ipswich River Mill Dam. We owe it to our stunning environment to take care of it so future generations can enjoy the river the same ways we did.  

Foster the future 

Saturday, October 19th

2:00pm - 3:30pm  

Old Town Hall

Main Street 

West Newbury MA, 01985

Debrief from after the meeting by a host:  

The focus of this cafe was to introduce the West Newbury community to what Climate Cafes are all about, their purpose, the conversations, and the message. Individuals in each group were asked to draw a picture of their special place, and then to describe how they have noticed climate change affecting this place, and how they predict climate change will affect it in the future. The second conversation of the cafe was centered around youth leadership and action and how can adults help to encourage leadership and advocacy among young people.
For the Pentucket team members, it was our first time hosting a cafe. We had very little expectations for how our first cafe in West Newbury would turn out, but the results were very fulfilling. This was the first time something like a cafe has occurred in our community, and I think that it gave people an opportunity to have meaningful exchanges and conversations which they might not have had the space to have before. It brought to light issues in not only the West Newbury community but also in others, connecting the towns of this local area and allowing us to relate to one another. 

Our future and our children's future are at stake. That is why we take our role as emerging leaders very seriously. We intend to leave a legacy that includes a healthy environment, a robust and just democracy, and communities that are resilient to a changing climate. 

Hosting Cafe conversations is a way for us to grow as leaders, as well as contribute to our communities. We speak on behalf of the oceans, forests, rivers, and saltmarshes and on behalf of all humans and wildlife who call this beautiful place home. 

Action starts with conversation!

Debrief from after the meeting by a host:  

The aim of the climate cafe we hosted in August of 2019 was to create a conversation guide that would promote thoughtful discussions on the importance of considering a multitude of perspectives when attempting to tackle environmental issues. We wanted the conversations people had to be productive and to instill empathy and inquiry in the participants. The environmental issues we are facing are widespread and affect people in very different ways and in order to effectively address them we need to recognize this. The ability to comprehensively understand the diverse views that contribute to multifaceted environmental issues can help us develop effective solutions. Being exposed to and equipped to respond to different perspectives and having the ability to effectively participate in difficult conversations strengthens our ability to be active citizens. Many people rarely talk about climate change or environmental issues because they believe they are too controversial, it makes them uncomfortable or they feel like they can’t really make a difference. This mindset was really something the cafe team aimed to overcome. We wanted participants to walk away from this comfortable to advocate for their own opinions while also being able to recognize and respect the opinions of others. Although the conversations we have in these cafes may be abstract we really wanted participants to take away the dialogue skills we worked on and to incorporate them in their daily conversations. We wanted the participants to leave with the realization that it is completely within their ability as well as their moral obligation to close these dialogue barriers.

Friday, August 16th

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Parker River Refuge Visitor's Center

6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport MA 01950

Climate change brings about a plethora of issues that threaten our environment. Passionate members of our community work tirelessly to fix many of these problems, but one of the most important roles a responsible citizen has is to inspire others to take action on these pressing issues. Hosts and participants will get the chance to discuss their various roles in the community at the Climate Café on Friday, August 16th, presented by the Newburyport Climate Café Team.

After a summer filled with hard work, the refuge/GOMI/Climate cafe interns have been working hard on increasing community conversation! Come join us!

Changing Our Story

Sunday, April 7th

2:00pm - 3:30pm

Parker River Refuge Visitor's Center

6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport MA 01950

What is your dream for the next generation? How do you find joy in these days of confusion? What inspires you to act? How can we create a new vision for the future? 

The questions about what our future may hold are endless and we are encouraging people to talk about them. The journey to a fulfilled life is to use the tools you are handed to create a story for future generations to learn from. As a collective community, we can come together and create a new story.

Another storm is brewing!  Time to plan a rain garden.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

11:45am - 1pm

FRS UU Church

26 Pleasant Street

Newburyport, Ma.

Join us at an upcoming Climate Cafe to talk about the impact of extreme weather and what we can do about it.  These Cafes are hosted by students from area high schools to engage the Great Marsh community in "conversations that matter" about our local environment.  

State of Our Waters: Chilling in the Climate Cafè

Friday, Decemeber 7th, 12:30-1:45

Parker River Wildlife Refuge

6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950

Although not open to the public, the Cafè will be not of the ordinary Climate Cafè. At the 2018 Merrimack Watershed Association meeting we will introduce the idea behind the Cafè and then ask the audience to share their most memorable experience on the river with their lunch table. After lunch we will reconvene and debrief the conversations as well as explain the hidden benefits of conversation.  

Photo Courtsey of the Newburyport News: Jim Vaiknoras