We’re so excited to share with you the winners of our 2020 Waste Campaign! These amazing student teams worked so hard on behalf of their environment in their communities.

Grand Prize Eco-Grant Winner – $1,000

Mary Bragg Elementary School  – Cerritos, California

This team consisted of fifty 4th and 5th graders who met before school to discuss solutions to reduce single-use water bottles in their community. They presented to their school’s PTA, in classrooms, and at school assemblies, and then took it even further by hosting beach clean-ups to spread awareness and provide a way for people to take action to help the environment. On top of these efforts, the team started an advocacy campaign that encouraged all their district’s elementary schools to have their own Green Teams to engage in environmental action. With their strong drive and organizational skills, the Bragg team was able to do this all of this before the “stay-at-home” order was enacted. While they weren’t able to present at their principal’s meeting due to their school closing, they were able to continue inspiring others virtually.


Best Elementary Impact – $500

Bryant Ranch Elementary Green Team – Yorba Linda, California

This team has been working incredibly hard, even after the stay at home order was implemented. This team addressed a unique plastic bag problem within their school since it was on their team’s required school supplies list. The team members, though young, asked for alternatives to plastic bags since it was not necessary and it would only contribute to waste.

The Bryant Ranch Team


HELP US TO PROVIDE NEXT CAMPAIGN’S ECO-GRANTS

We need your help to continue to provide these transformative Eco-Grants to our students. These grants encourage students to complete their projects, and are one of the most powerful ways for us to expand our students’ impact!

601 W. 26th Street #325


Green Influencers Award – $500

HEAR Club from California Academy of Mathematics and Science High School  – Carson, California

The HEAR Club used their project to raise awareness of microplastics in synthetic clothing and the damage that they do to the environment. The team reached out to organizations that focused on microplastics reduction and conducted an interview with Grades of Green to further explain the issue, impacts, and potential solutions.


Campus Advocates Award – $250

Keller Dual Language Middle School – Long Beach, California

This team encouraged the head of nutrition services at their school to find alternatives to the single-use, plastic-wrapped sporks served alongside lunch in their school. Their goal was to prove that using reusable utensils as an alternative would be more efficient, more cost-effective, and most importantly, more environmentally friendly. They hope to make the environmentally-conscious changes permanent.


Campus Changemakers Award – $250

EarthSavers from Thomas Starr King Middle School – Los Angeles, California

This team also worked on reducing single-use plastic utensils served at school. Their project involved finding alternatives for plastic utensils and single-use trays to reduce the environmental impact of their lunchtime waste at their school.


Most Inspirational Team Award – $250

Whittier Elementary School – Long Beach, California

Whittier Elementary focused on ways to reduce litter on their campus. They educated their school through videos about the harmful effects of litter and showcased how cleaning up was every student’s responsibility. They worked with their principal and teachers to set up “beautification zones” to clean up their school’s grounds.


Best Alumni Team – $250

Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 – Queens, New York

This team of 10 students has previously worked with Grades of Green on several Campaign projects. This semester, they continued to pursue water bottle waste reduction efforts at their own school before expanding their advocacy to nearby elementary schools. The team then focused on recycling markers at their school but switched their project to educating their community on reducing plastic usage after the stay-at-home-order was implemented.


International Changemakers Award – $500

University of Buea  – Buea, Cameroon

`This team in Cameroon advocated to their University administration to stop the open burning of trash on campus and encouraged their university body to seek out trash collection services and trash bin sites. During this process, they worked to create a university recycling program while educating younger students and siblings about waste issues occurring in their community. The team lead, Forbi Perise, recently spoke to the UN as part of the World Oceans Day global virtual event. Watch his presentation and panel discussion.


Student Recognition Awards

Best Student Leader – Samantha T, Mira Costa High School


Samantha is a 11th grade student at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. She has been involved in Grades of Green since 2012, bringing energy and passion to all of the environmental projects she has taken on over the years.  Sam began with the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco Leadership program in 2012 when she was in 3rd grade, leading environmental education and recycling projects in her community. Sam started the first student-led Grades of Green club at Mira Costa, spearheading solutions to environmental problems in her high school and city. She and her team began participating in the Rise Campaign program in 2018 focusing on educating her community about ocean health and leading projects to reduce plastic litter at the beach. Sam is a strong environmental advocate in her community and is consistently involved in environmental leadership and speaking out for green solutions.


Best Student Innovator – Sacha E, Granada Hills High School Habit Change Team 

Sacha E. is a student at Granada Hills Charter High school. He is interested in taking environmental action, because of the amount of waste and pollution in his community. The strong winds in the local neighborhoods constantly knock down trash cans and spill trash into the environment. Sasha’s project addresses this issue by using an innovative system of automatic electromagnetic locks that automatically secure trash cans if they are knocked over. This invention has been recognized as the most sustainable invention at the MIT EurekaFest. Sasha is also encouraging people to stop overfilling trashcans, so that trash can lids can be secured properly, further preventing litter in his community. His project demonstrates the power of innovative ideas and creative thinking when approaching environmental problems.


Adult Lead Award

Best Adult Lead – Sheri Sather, The Parallel Projects

Sheri sought to introduce her son, Justin, to other children around the world working to reduce plastics – and in 2019 they met Perise through social media.  Perise had collected over 8,000 thousand illegally dumped plastic bottles from around his hometown of Buea, and without any local recycling infrastructure Perise was looking for ideas on what to do with all the collected bottles.  Sheri and Justin spread the word about Perise’s situation, asking everyone they could for ideas. The two released a national call of action for solution.  Thus, Parallel Projects campaign was born. Sheri worked hard throughout the 2020 Waste Campaign ton continue sharing and implementing ideas from active environmental groups around the world.