Youth for Environmental Action

“I am passionate about social justice and I want to make sure that future generations have the same opportunities to be enriched in the outdoors as I have had.” 

–Youth for Environmental Action Leader

The purpose of Youth for Environmental Action is to connect students who are passionate about the environment and who want to take action together for the future. YEA students work on projects that increase school sustainability, advocate with school leaders for change, and plan and lead Santa Cruz County’s annual Environmental Action Summit bringing together community leaders, educators, and students to find solutions to the environmental issues our community faces. No previous leadership experience is needed! See the program overview here for more information!

How does YEA work? How do you join?

A new YEA Team is formed each school year. Submit this interest form and we will contact you with more information about next year's program. The team includes students from all high schools across the county and you do not need any leadership experience to apply!  Students work together to identify YEA projects and lead the annual Youth for Environmental Action Summit.

Listen to YEA Student Leaders Sophia and Natasha's 2024 interview on KSQD radio's Inside Education program! They share about Youth for Environmental Action and the changes happening at their school thanks to collaboration between students and school leaders that began at last year's YEA Summit. 

2024 YEA


2024 YEA Summit

Students are the group that will be most impacted by climate change, yet too often our voices are left out of conversations about how to address these matters. To close this gap, Youth for Environment Action (YEA) hosts our annual Summit. This year's theme is "Earth Day Every Day: Our Environment is Up to us"" 

On April 22nd, 250 attendees will gather at Camp Koinonia Conference Grounds for the student-led summit which features a diverse panel of speakers exploring sustainable food systems, opportunities for students to learn more about how they can pursue local change, and collaboration across age ranges and professions. This annual event is planned by a team of YEA Student Leaders representing all high schools across the county.  The summit features a Community Action Fair, in which local organizations and student groups host tables where attendees can engage in activities, gather information and make commitments to actionable steps to contribute to a sustainable future. 

During the event student attendees will also meet with their school district leaders to examine results of the YEA Survey on School Environmental Action and discuss how students can be involved in the policymaking at their own schools.   


Survey on School Environmental Action

YEA created this survey for schools across the county to gather data directly from students and staff about their impressions of how sustainable schools are, how much schools connect students with environmental curriculum and outdoor learning, and how climate change and environmental issues affect students mental and physical health. Take the survey here  and explore the Survey Results for both 2022-23 and 2023-24 here. You can see countywide data or filter by schools and districts.

Board Resolution for Schools

In 2021-2022, YEA leaders developed a TEMPLATE Board Resolution for Environmental Action. YEA Student Leaders met with the Santa Cruz County School Board Association to deliver this presentation and share the template resolution.

Elevating Student Voice

YEA Students bring youth perspectives to school board presentations, radio programs, conferences, district green teams, and education events. They also produce videos to share youth voices with school leaders, teachers and peers. See our youtube channel and follow @sccstudentleadership on Instagram to hear from us.  

To stay up to date please follow us on Instagram at @sccstudentleadership and youtube

For more information contact: Amity Sandage, Environmental Literacy Coordinator and YEA Advisor, at

Y.E.A Advisor

Amity Sandage, 

pronouns: she/her/hers

Environmental Literacy Coordinator at Santa Cruz County Office of Education

My work, which I love, is to support students to build their understanding of and connection to the environment, so they are empowered and prepared to take action for a sustainable future. 
A quote that I believe in: "Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries." --Jimmy Carter