Youth for the Environment and People (YEP!)

Creating a space for youth voices, leadership, and advocacy on issues students care about.

Calling all high school students in Whatcom and Skagit Counties 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
  • Visit two State Parks on a couple of Saturday sessions (transportation and lunch provided)

YEP! helped me learn about climate change, it helped me learn about people, and it helped me learn about myself.” – Diego, 2021 YEP! Participant

We offer two concurrent cohorts — one in Whatcom and one in Skagit — coming together during State Park field days! Each cohort, using the climate solutions-based framework provided by Project Drawdown, will choose a project that supports carbon sinks or reduces sources of carbon emissions all to better society. 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)
  • This program will run for 11 weeks from the end of September until mid December (exact dates TBD)
  • YEP! is co-facilitated by (Whatcom cohort) Sasha Savoian, Education Specialist at RE Sources & (Skagit cohort) Neal Smeltzer, Youth Leadership Coordinator at North Cascades Institute
  • We provide a $150 stipend upon completion of the group project to compensate students for their time and efforts
  • We will begin accepting applications in August, so check back this summer!
Questions? Please contact:

Sasha Savoian, Education Specialist:

Previous YEP! cohort projects

2021 cohorts: Check out the blog post!
Whatcom cohort: Given how much they enjoyed being outdoors and working with plants during the stewardship days, these students chose to continue the theme for their action project. So they partnered with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association to co-host a tree planting work party along Squalicum Creek. Gabby Boyson, Environmental Stewardship Associate through AmeriCorps, helped the students organize the event and the group created a flyer to recruit other student volunteers. These young climate activists planted 28 trees with the help of other passionate youth from Ferndale High School.
Skagit cohort: Through exploration of carbon sinks, the Skagit students discovered the Kulshan Carbon Trust, a new non-profit in Skagit and Whatcom counties working to support different forms of carbon sequestration. After a visit from co-founder Jessa Clark with the KCT, the students came up with the idea of creating a brochure about the organization that would help stakeholders in their community learn about this new non-profit and why their local work matters. See their project here.

2020 cohorts: Cohort One centered their environmental justice project around food access inequities. Ultimately, the group decided to make food bags for youth in need in our community. Cohort Two discussed the various ways pollution and disease disproportionately impact Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant, and low-income communities. Ultimately, they decided the project would be twofold: (1) donate COVID-19 safety supplies to those in need, and (2) create a website that included helpful COVID resources. Learn more.

2019 cohort: After studying threats to the endangered Southern Resident orca, this cohort designed and painted a mural along a busy walking path to remind the community about the threats affecting the health of endangered Southern Resident orcas. Learn more.

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Photo by Eric Creitz