Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!)

Creating a space for youth voices, leadership, and advocacy on issues students care about. Accepting applications for Fall 2024!

Apply today

Calling all high school students in Whatcom & Skagit County interested in collaborating with other youth on a climate action project!

Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!) provides an opportunity for students to share ideas and passions, learn about climate change solutions, engage in local stewardship projects, and work together with other youth in choosing, planning and implementing a group action project. And, of course, have fun!

YEP! participants will:

  • Meet and work with youth in the region to create and implement a student-led action project
  • Discover, empower, and refine individual skills and talents
  • Practice stepping into leadership roles
  • Connect with local organizations working to solve local climate change in our region
  • Learn about local and global climate change solutions
  • Participate in two local field days exploring hands-on solutions

YEP! runs for 10 weeks and is offered both in the spring and fall semesters:

I had never had a chance to join an official group or be a part of a project to make a change and help the community. This was my first time and definitely not my last”

— Ay, 2023 YEP! Participant

Fall 2024 theme: Ecological Forestry

We offer two concurrent cohorts — one in Whatcom and one in Skagit — coming together during outside field days! This fall, students will learn about the concept of Ecological Forestry: a solution for how we can steward forests while balancing the needs for restoration, protection, and wood production/logging. Forestry is a complex topic! We’ll hear from experts and visit forests to understand the issue from multiple perspectives and explore what solutions exist locally. Each cohort will then design an action project addressing forestry challenges. Facilitators guide, support, and educate while students lead and work collaboratively on the group action project.

More details about the program
  • Applicants must attend high school in Whatcom or Skagit counties (applicants will form two cohorts consisting of 15 students each; one Whatcom, one Skagit)
  • YEP! is co-facilitated by (Whatcom cohort) Cambry Baker, Youth Engagement Coordinator at RE Sources & (Skagit cohort) Eva Araujo, Youth Leadership Specialist at North Cascades Institute
  • This program will run for 10 weeks from September 30th until December 9th (no meeting November 25th for Thanksgiving Break)
  • We provide a $150 stipend upon completion of the group project to compensate students for their time and efforts
Questions? Please contact:

Details, how to apply, and benefits for 2024


Application due: 10:00 pm Monday, September 9th.

Informed of acceptance into the program: Between Sept. 10th and the 14th. You must confirm you want to accept the offer by Sept 16th.

Note: all of the above correspondence will happen via email.

Who can participate? Applicants must attend high school in Whatcom or Skagit County. There are 30 total spots available, 15 in each cohort.

How long it? Starting September 30th, YEP! runs on Mondays for 10 weeks including two field days, one on Sunday, October 6th and the second one TBD, ending on December 9th (no meeting on November 25th for Thanksgiving break).

Where and when are the meetings? Whatcom cohort will meet Mondays from 4-6 PM at RE Sources for Sustainable Communities in Bellingham (above the RE Store) and Skagit cohort meets Mondays 3-5pm at Burlington Edison High School.

What are the benefits? We provide a $150 stipend upon completion of the group project to compensate students for their time and efforts. Must attend 9 of the 12 meetings and participate in the group project to receive the stipend.

Take Action

Be a part of changing the world


Past YEP! Projects

Spring 2024 – Energy

Students conducted an energy and cost savings analysis of retrofitting Options High School with LED lights and presented their findings to the Bellingham School District’s Sustainability Task Force. Check out their LED retrofit project here.


Fall 2023 – Flooding

Whatcom Cohort: Interested in educating the next generation about flooding mitigation, students led 45 Wild Whatcom elementary students in hands-on flooding lessons afterschool, as well as hosted a restoration work party.

Skagit Cohort: To help their community be flood prepared, students designed and distributed a flooding preparedness “how-to” brochure to neighbors and community members, alongside homemade baked goods.


Spring 2023 – Fast Fashion

Interested in helping their peers ditch fast fashion, students hosted an outdoor clothing swap to raise awareness of the impacts of fast fashion and keep textiles out of the landfill.

Learn about how students addressed fast fashion.


Fall 2022 – Food Waste

Whatcom Cohort: Following their passion for food justice, students held an educational event at the Bellingham Farmers Market and hand-painted 36 ceramic bowls that they sold to raise over $900 for the Bellingham Food Bank.

Skagit Cohort: For their action project, the Skagit cohort decided to focus on improving food composting at their local schools, as well as educating the local community about the importance of composting and its effect on reducing climate change.

Learn more about how students tackled food waste on our blog.


Fall 2021 – Carbon Sources and Sinks

Whatcom Cohort: YEP! students partnered with NSEA to co-host a tree planting work party along Squalicum Creek and planted 28 trees just after historic flooding in November with the help of other passionate youth from Ferndale High School.

Skagit Cohort: Through exploration of carbon sinks (a natural system that can limit climate change by storing carbon from the atmosphere) the Skagit students discovered the Kulshan Carbon Trust and decided to create a well-researched brochure for the non-profit that would educate stakeholders on their programs.

Check out their carbon-sequestration projects


Fall 2020 – Environmental Justice

Whatcom Cohort: After deciding to center their project around food inequity, students sewed 20 bags out of old t-shirts and filled them with food, a gift card to a local food establishment, notes of encouragement and a list of helpful resources and donated them to NorthWest Youth Services.

Skagit Cohort: In a two-part project, students donated COVID-19 safety supplies to those in need, and created a website that included helpful COVID resources, highlighting the link between a healthy environment and healthy people, while providing important background information about environmental justice.

Find out more about how these teens worked for environmental justice.

Spring 2019 – Orca Health

Whatcom Cohort: Students channeled their passions with paint to raise awareness about the perils facing the Southern Resident Orcas of the Salish Sea through making an art mural on the side of the RE Store.

See their mural and the work they accomplished.

Spring 2018 – Pilot Program

Whatcom: This cohort marks the launch of YEP!. RE Sources partnered with Sahar Arbab, a WWU grad student, to design, trial, and evaluate the first iteration of Youth for the Environment and People! Students in this cohort explored climate solutions, participated in focus groups, and planned a letter-writing event.