Here’s some good news from the last day of 2020! The Beach Reporter featured four of our amazing students, including Rylee who is pictured here winning an award from the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition! 

Your support empowers Grades of Green’s students to make long-lasting environmental impacts in their communities and develop the skills they need to be the environmental leaders of the future. To say “thank you,” our students recorded a special message for you!


Further your support of tomorrow’s Eco-Leaders!

We would like to give a warm welcome to the newest members of the Grades of Green team, Katie and Malcolm!

Katie and Malcom join us as 2020 – 2021 Climate Corps Fellows. Grades of Green has been partnering with the award-winning fellowship program to support emerging sustainability leaders as they tackle today’s most pressing environmental issues.

Climate Corps is powered through AmeriCorps, the renowned network of national service programs. The fellows who work with us receive valuable on-the-job training while Grades of Green gets dedicated full-time staff members who support the day to day operations and programming of our organization. Check out more about what they’re working on at Grades of Green below!

Katie, Program Communications Associate

As a Program Communications Associate, Katie helps tell the stories of Grades of Green’s awesome student Eco-leaders. She produces and refines communications, marketing, and program materials like social media posts, blog posts, newsletters, graphics, guidebooks, and other content as needed. Katie is also responsible for implementing elements of Grades of Green’s internal and external communications strategies and tracking performance metrics.

Link to bio

Malcolm, Program Advisor

As a Program Advisor Associate, Malcolm works both with the Programs team as well as the many motivated Eco-Leaders. He helps guide teams through the Climate Solutions Campaign by providing climate advice, leadership skills, and helpful insight. Malcolm also has a hand in helping with the development of Grades of Green programs by hosting Webinars, Facilitator Trainings, and looking to further practices through data management and mapping.

Link to bio

We are proud to host Climate Corps fellows and have seen first-hand how they provide valuable insight and passion to help our programs reach their maximum potential!

More than 150 Grades of Green students took an exclusive tour from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) on Saturday, October 8th!

We learned a ton about how the Sanitation Districts protect public health and the environment, and you can, too! Find our recording of the tour below! Watch it to find out how LACSD converts wastewater into recycled water and learn about the fascinating innovations they’re making to the process of turning food waste into useful resources. 

The Virtual Field Trip consists of two tours – one of the food waste recycling program and one of the water reclamation program. Find out more about each of the tours below!

Tour #1: San Jose Creek Water Reclamation Plant

The Sanitation Districts’ staff take you through what they do at the San Jose Creek Water Reclamation Plant and show you how this facility serves LA County. For those of you that don’t know what a wastewater reclamation plant is, it is where wastewater is treated to a very high level so that it can be reused. This is especially important here in Southern California where the weather is dry and we have water shortages. San Jose Creek WRP can treat about 60 million gallons per day – that’s a lot of water! 

Tour #2: Food Waste

Did you know the average household in the US wastes 25% of the food they buy? We throw out 4,000 tons of food waste every day in Los Angeles County. This waste includes dinner scraps, ugly-looking fruit, and vegetables from your local grocery stores, and uneaten food from restaurants. Let LACSD show you how they are recycling food waste into green energy!

Learn more by checking out LACSD’s website.

Here are just a few of the students who joined LACSD’s staff and Grades of Green’s team for the virtual tour!

Grades of Green is so excited to announce the launch of our brand new Climate Solutions Campaign. We’ve taken our students’ feedback and everything we’ve learned over the years to create our best Campaign program yet!

As always, the Climate Solutions Campaign is FREE for all participants.
Students can win Eco-Grants up to $1,000!

Students: Join Us Today!

Find out what you’ll be doing by checking out the Guidebook!

Campaign Highlights

  • What It Is: Students will work closely with our Advisors throughout our award-winning Campaign program to…
    1. Become an expert on an environmental issue tied to the climate crisis
    2. Develop a green solution related to that environmental issue to be implemented in their community
    3. Learn to gain community support for their solution from the public, businesses and government leaders
    4. Create meaningful change in their community by implementing their solution
  • Timeline: You can start RIGHT NOW and the Campaign extends through May of 2021. So sign up today!
  • Pandemic-Ready Projects: Students can complete the Campaign 100% virtually, allowing solo students and teams to take action under stay-at-home orders
Mary Bragg Winners Recognized
So far, the Mary Bragg Green Team has won $1,500 in Eco-Grants! Sign up today, and you could win, too! Photo courtesy of ABCUSD.

Students Get The Opportunity to…

  • Take REAL ACTION to combat the climate crisis
  • Meet school service hours virtually
  • Gain experience that is perfect for college resumes and essays
  • Level up their leadership skills through one-on-one mentorship from our expert advisors

Past Student Teams have…

  • Pushed cities to pass city-wide plastic bag bans
  • Helped lawmakers pass state-wide clean air legislation
  • Planted hundreds of trees in their communities
  • Started school-wide composting programs
  • Held energy reduction competitions

Sound Exciting? Join Us to Help Solve the Climate Crisis!

You may have noticed that we’ve chosen to mute our account over the past few days to make space for black, indigenous and people of color allies advocating for justice against police brutality and systemic racism. We’ve spent this time actively listening, learning, and reflecting on what we as an organization and our leadership can do to be stronger partners and are committed to that cause. We pledge to redouble our efforts to stand against injustice in all its forms and to amplify black, indigenous and people of color voices. We invite you to do the same. Black Lives Matter.

To our black, indigenous and people of color students — we stand with you and support you. Students are always our #1 priority and we are here to serve you. Have ideas on how we can do that? We’ll be discussing these with you soon and are here if you want to talk right now — we want to hear from you! Please send us a DM or connect with your advisor.

We recognize that the fight for the environment must go hand-in-hand with the fight for racial and social justice. We’re committed to making environmental justice a key element of our programming and know that we can do more to elevate the intersection between environmental justice and social justice in our work.

To that end, we are working diligently over the summer to expand our environmental justice training in our upcoming year-long Climate Campaign and are so excited to launch this new program in the fall!

If you have any suggestions or questions about Grades of Green’s commitment to environmental justice or how we are working with students to advocate for the environment, please DM us and we would love to connect!

We’d like to share these diverse voices that are a source of inspiration and guidance for us and invite you to follow them, too:

@blklivesmatter
@ayanaeliza
@blackgirlssurf
@browngirl_green
@GreenGirlLeah
@ibramxk
@indigenouswomenhike
@latinooutdoors
@melaninbasecamp
@queerbrownvegan
@thebrownascenders|
@theconsciouskid
@unlikelyhikers
@vanessanakate1
@veggiemijas
@wastefreemarie
@youthoutside

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 very motivated team of 8th graders were working on a pilot program to reduce the number of plastic utensils used at school. Their ultimate goal is to present their findings to their principal and advocate for ultimately replacing plastic utensils with a compostable option. When the Stay-at-Home order was put into place, the team continued their research to find alternatives for plastic utensils and single-use trays.


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.

With the support of Sony Pictures’ A Greener World, we challenged students to put together a pitch video to showcase their solution to environmental problems in their communities and beyond. It was incredible to see all the students who managed to work throughout the difficulties presented by stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus.

The result? Grades of Green has been overwhelmed by the number of Green Pitch video entries that we received and are even more blown away by all the students who worked so hard! All of the videos showed such great passion and commitment to taking care of our environment. 

It was VERY difficult to narrow it down, but we are pleased to announce the winners!

Winning Teams

The winning student or team will earn an Eco-Grant of $1,000 and two (2) runner-up students or teams will earn $500! All three winners will be able to tour the Sony Pictures Studio Lot and/or watch a live taping of a Sony Pictures production.

Grand Prize Winner: Whitney High School

Whitney High School

Runner Up: Umar from Irvine High School

Irvine High School

Runner Up: Manhattan Beach Middle School

Manhattan Beach Middle School

Finalists Videos

Check out our finalists’ videos below – they were all amazing!

CAMS Hear Club

CAMS Hear Club

Explore Marine Life Team

Explore Marine Life Team

Helen Keller Green Team

Helen Keller Green Team

Irvine SEVA Group

Irvine SEVA Group

Linwood E. Howe Elementary

Linwood E. Howe Elementary

QUARANTINE DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN THAT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION IS CANCELLED!

“This month, Grades of Green launched the bingo challenge  with LASAN, was featured on the South Bay Eco Festival with LASAN, had a Grades of Green student honored with the “President’s Environmental Youth Award,” and shared our student’s work and pitches on Instagram!

BINGO CHALLENGE:

Grades of Green is partnering with LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by challenging Los Angeles families to reduce their impact on the environment by improving their waste footprint!”

PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH AWARD


Justin from the Parallel Projects received the EPA’s “President’s Environmental Youth Award.” He has created a global network of passionate students wanting to make a difference by reducing their waste through upcycling. Last year, Justin and his friend Perise in Cameroon transformed nearly 8,000 plastic bottles into useful projects! For all their hard work and impact, Justin and the Parallel Projects were also the recipients of one of the Eco-Grants from our last campaign!

We hope that you all stay safe and sustainable!

TAKE ACTION DURING EARTH WEEK AND WIN A VISIT FROM AN LASAN COLLECTION VEHICLE FOR YOUR NEXT PARTY!

Grades of Green is partnering with LA Sanitation & Environment (LASAN) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by challenging Los Angeles families to reduce their impact on the environment by improving their waste footprint! Click HERE to join in the on the fun!

Tackle three (3) tasks in a row on your bingo card, share them on social media, and you could win the opportunity to amaze the guests at your child’s next birthday party or event with a visit from an LASAN collection truck!

As long as your party takes place within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles and hosts no more than 20 guests, LASAN will send along one of their amazing collection vehicles and staff to wow your guests!

This is a perfect opportunity for the little ones who love to see the truck come by each week to pick up waste and recyclables. Guests will be able to see the truck up-close, operate the controls, and learn all about the vehicle from an LASAN Refuse Collection Truck Operator!

Challenge Period: April 22, 2020, at 10:00 am PDT through May 7, 2020, at 5:00 pm PDT.