Student Environmental Action Club

We are educating students about the environment, how they are connected to it, and introducing them to taking action in their communities.

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Please confirm you meet the following criteria

  • We have submitted the supplemental form linked in the description above
  • We are aged between 14 - 20 as of February 11, 2021
  • We live in the United States or its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
  • We are not employed by, or directly related (parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • We have been working on this project for at least three months
  • We consent to Ashoka and/or GM featuring our work on their website, social media, and in other materials regarding this Challenge using the information in our application
  • We confirm we have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://sites.google.com/myhalifax.us/vefd-2020/home

Date You Started Your Project

09/2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

There is a lack of environmental education and action that students are exposed to in our community. Being informed about the environment and why it matters to you, the student personally is very important for setting the foundation for this generation to make educated choices that effect the environment as they grow up.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

By holding an Environmental Field Day (EFD) and forming the Student Environmental Action Club (SEAC), we are working to educate our students and have them take action that helps the environment and builds habits for their futures. In SEAC, passionate students learn more about the environment through hands on learning at school and also on field trips where they can learn more about the issues in depth as well as take action to help mitigate some. They also learn to educate others by giving presentations to the group on issues that they have learned about. At EFD, presenters from across PA come to the school (virtually last year) and present to the students on different aspects of the environment that are interesting and connects to them. They also take action by doing activities like tree plantings.

3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.

Professionals that teach students present on a wide variety of topics relating to STEM and the environment. As SEAC, we not only do our own research on the validity of the information we are presenting, but we also pull in professionals from STEM fields to further explain and break down concepts and ideas. We use STEM to approach all problems and environmental issues within our club.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

In my 7th grade life science class, I discovered my passion for the environment because of my teacher and mentor. It was an amazing class where I learned all about cells to ecology. This is where I also took my first trip with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. From then on, I worked with this teacher and took every trip I could with CBF. In the beginning of 10th grade, my teacher recommended me to join the CBF PA Student Leadership Council where I created an action project that would be to create an environmental club and event at my school. Thus, SEAC was created and that spring, our first EFD was held. By working with my mentor, I created the first environmental education event at Halifax. These past few years, I have worked to expand SEAC from just the few original members to the 40 people that it has today (which is large for our school). Our events have expanded each year.

5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

SEAC worked with school administration to implement our project as well as with different local environmental organizations. We built up our club and found passionate students to be involved. We hold a yearly Environmental Field Day as well as other smaller events and have the club go on trips to get hands on experience to learn and take action. We have held a tree planting at our school.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our school is in a low income community and environmental education had not been a priority. Instead of working on a few action projects by ourselves, we wanted to educate students on what they could do and teach them to take action and build habits that would follow through their lives. Our group of passionate students takes their education and experience and spreads it to the rest of their community.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.

Over 200 students participate in Environmental Field Day. An action project planted 50 trees at our school and we plan on planting many more. We also are working on doing storm drain stenciling in our community and also working to make our school more environmentally friendly by starting a composting project and reworking the old greenhouse at the school.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We want to increase the impact that we have by expanding and adding projects. Having more tree plantings, doing storm drain stenciling in the community, restoring the school greenhouse so that students can help run it and it can be included in curriculum, and allowing individual and team club members to work on projects that they are passionate about. We would love to expand our network and have more schools be involved in similar work. Students are also working on more action projects that include ideas like composting, reducing plastic waste, and eventually increasing our greenhouse capabilities to include hydroponics.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

In the very beginning, it was just a very few students and a mentor working on these projects. As we communicated more with others about what we were doing, we found more and more passionate students who wanted to be involved. Now, SEAC students are working on individual and team action projects. They are taking ideas that are important to them and bringing them into fruition.

11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We would like to expand the projects that we are doing locally, but we would also like to have what we do be repeated in other schools. Our club is called the Student Environmental Action Club, not the "Halifax" club or something that would limit our impact. Our intent is for our work to expand and reach far beyond our small community in the future.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

Environmental education is extremely important for a multitude of reasons. This education effects the economy, politics, and many other aspects of our lives. By teaching students to take action and providing the foundational education on how they impact the environment and how this affects the futures of them and their posterity, they will hopefully make informed decisions in the future.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support
  • Donations less than $100

14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.

  • Accounting & Finance

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

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