"Green Team was a place for me to express what I loved. Every week, I would simply head out to the back of the school with my friends to work on the small inclusive garden which is in the progress of being cleaned out, and enjoy contributing to something so much larger, and of such importance. And if I find myself nagging family about their deserted garden or the plastic and paper they randomly toss away, I'll just accept it as a way that Green Team has changed me.
And not for the worse either!"
-- Mengxuan Z., a high school junior from Davis, California wrote about her transformation as a leader of her school's Green Team
The power of environmental education. The power of stories. The power of youth voices. All together, that's the power of Nature's Voices.
The Nature's Voices Project is a program of Green Schools Initiative to amplify the voices of young people whose lives and learning have been transformed by environmental education. By sharing these stories, we will grow the movement of people supporting green schools and environmental education. A stronger movement will transform more green schools, generate more funding for environmental literacy, and empower more students to take actions to protect the planet. Submit your inspiring story today!
The Nature's Voices Project provides:
- Opportunities to link Common Core Writing Standards with meaningful and inspiring environmental experiences;
- A means of showing the positive impacts and benefits of green schools and environmental literacy programs on academic achievement and civic engagement through personal and emotional stories; and
- A platform for youth voices to be heard by educators and adults with the power to reform and invest in our schools and promote the "Green Schools Movement" and environmental education programs.
We will share these stories with educators, policymakers, and the general public to inspire them to support green schools and to listen to their youth calling for a better future. Youth stories will be shared through social media, conferences, events, and other avenues, including at the March 2015 Green Schools National Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Leading up to the conference, we will collect and share youth stories and select the best ones to feature on our website and social media channels.
Youth ages 13 and up can submit a story as part of our Nature's Voices Student Story Contest and win cash prizes and an expense-paid trip to be a keynote speaker at the Green Schools National Conference in March 2015 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
We will offer a scholarship to the student author with the best story to share his/her story as a keynote speaker and participate in the Green Schools National Student Summit, held in parallel with the conference.
We have several cash prizes for contest finalists, as well. After the conference, we will continue to use and publicize the stories in support of green schools policy reforms, state environmental literacy plans, funding for environmental and outdoor education, and other advocacy forums.
We want to hear your unique perspective and invite you to share your story. Perhaps you or your students participated in a habitat restoration project with a school club, worked in a community garden, went on an outdoor adventure, or learned about climate change in your environmental science class.
Follow our writing prompts and SUBMIT YOUR STORY, PHOTOGRAPHS OR A VIDEO HERE.
The DEADLINE for story contest submissions is January 16, 2015.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Anna-Bell Hines’ story took the top prize telling her experiences about re-building schools in post-Hurricane-Katrina New Orleans and being a youth ambassador for the Louisiana Green Building Council. She delivered her story as a keynote speaker at the Green Schools National Conference in Virginia Beach, VA and received a standing ovation from the audience of 700+ educators! You can watch a video of her speech or read her story “Devastation to Education.”
2ND PRIZE: Lena Friedman wrote about her experiences at the Outdoor Academy in her story “The Origin of Heroes”
3RD PRIZE: Quynh N’s story “All It Takes Is One” eloquently described the ClimateLeap program.
4TH PRIZE: Colter wrote about his experiences at the Green Schools Student Summit and starting a Green Team at his school in his story “Starting Lonely, Growing Boldly.”