KIDS for the BAY Student Ambassadors Share Their Hopes for the Environment

KIDS for the BAY interviewed a group of inspired Student Ambassadors to hear what’s on the minds of our young Environmentalists, and how they are helping to shape the future. 

KIDS for the BAY (KftB) Student Ambassadors are small groups of students chosen by their classmates to speak with KftB Educators about their program experiences and provide important feedback on how program activities can better support them and their communities. Another goal of meeting with our young ambassadors is to encourage their development as leaders and open discussions about the individual and collaborative actions they can take to ensure the health of their local watersheds and communities. 

KftB Educator Sakshi Srivastava met with Student Ambassadors from Madera Elementary School in El Cerrito to learn more about their experiences with our Watershed Action Program. In conversations with Ms. Sakshi, Madera Student Ambassadors shared how their KftB program has impacted their journey as Environmentalists and leaders. Students also shared their concerns about the environment, as well as what gives them hope.

Did you consider yourself an Environmentalist before your KftB program? How has that changed?

Piper: “I didn’t consider myself an Environmentalist before. I knew about environmental issues before, but now I have been talking to my family about it, and I am trying to learn more and do things differently to help the environment.”

Goldey: “I think I was an Environmentalist before this program, but now I feel more focused on trying to make changes than I did before.”

What would you tell someone to convince them they should take care of their environment? 

Araxie: “I would tell them that the future of the world depends on it and it affects them, so they should care! Plenty of industry people are concerned about money, and not concerned about people. If they cared more about people, the environment would be much cleaner and safer.”

Yuri: “If I wanted to convince someone to take care of the environment I would say, if you like seafood, you should care. If you want to see any cool fish and crab, or even if you want to have a shell collection, you should care.” 

Araxie: “My mom told me that when she was in school, they didn’t really teach about the environment. I think kids know a lot now, and can probably teach adults too.”

What gives you hope?

Cedar: “My dad is a professor at UC Berkeley and he studies insect behavior, so he really doesn’t feel hopeful about the future. He sees how climate change is harming insect populations.” 

Piper: “Seeing places in our watershed that are healthy gives me hope because it means that the rest of the world can be like that too.”

Goldey: “We saw in the pictures in our lesson that there are kids who are fighting for climate justice. That gives me hope because they wouldn’t fight for justice if they didn’t believe things can change.”

Cedar: “Every year, there is a list of 10 things that helped the environment that year. I like to read that because it helps me have hope.”

KftB Madera Environmentalists took action to reduce marine plastic pollution in the bay and ocean by performing a trash survey and cleanup on their school campus. Students were overcome with disbelief when they looked at pictures of sea lions entangled in fishing nets and the polluted stomach contents of an albatross. “Is that a whole lighter in the bird’s stomach? It hasn’t broken down at all!” noticed Isla. Cedar pointed out, “Scientists might study this so they can see what kind of plastic trash is getting into the ocean the most. Then factories can make less of that plastic.” The Madera Environmentalists were determined to take immediate action. 

The Madera students made initial predictions of the types of pollution they would find. “I bet we’ll find a lot of plastic trash around the lunch tables,” said Connor. Outside their classroom, they cataloged and collected plastic trash around their school. “The area by the planters has so much trash hidden under the leaves,” exclaimed Arshia. The trash survey and cleanup activity helped Madera students to address the problem of marine plastic pollution at the source, and their collective efforts helped decrease the amount of trash and waste traveling to the bay and ocean! 

“We found way more plastic straw wrappers and water bottles than we thought we would,” noted Judah. All the Madera Environmentalists agreed that preventing pollution from entering the local watershed environment is a much better option than cleaning it up later. They had some insightful and creative ideas about using the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Refuse) to create less waste at school and at home. “The school could give us reusable straws instead of giving us plastic straws with our milk and juice,” suggested Elyza. “I didn’t realize that recycling uses so much energy! I will tell my mom that we should try the other Rs before recycling,” shared Raiya. 

KIDS for the BAY’s partnership with classes of students and Student Ambassadors provides the opportunity for youth to develop the skills they need to represent their school community and lead a lifetime of environmental stewardship. They inspire a great deal of hope in us as they become leaders in their schools and communities.

KIDS for the BAY