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?

APPLY HERE A new YEA Team is formed each school year. Applications are accepted from all high schools across the county and you do not need any leadership experience to apply! Choose the level of commitment that works for you.

1) Leadership Team 

2) Support Team 


2023 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 was "Empowering Teens for Climate Action." 

On April 17th, over 200 attendees gathered at Camp Koinonia Conference Grounds for the summit which featured a diverse panel of speakers answering pressing questions about the climate, students learning 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 featured a Community Action Fair, in which local organizations hosted tables where attendees made commitments to actionable steps to combat climate change. Students networked and met with organizations offering opportunities such as volunteer sign-ups, pledging to lower carbon footprints, and joining student-led advocacy groups. 

Student attendees also connected with their school district leaders to discuss how they can be involved in the policymaking at their own schools. “YEA altered this summit from last year by adding in action commitments, inviting new speakers, and focusing more on student empowerment. I’m sure we all can’t wait to see the impact it will have,” said Avonlea Harwood, YEA student leader.   READ ALL ABOUT IT IN THIS ARTICLE BY A YEA STUDENT LEADER

Survey on School Environmental Action

In Fall 2022, YEA created and distributed a survey to 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 health. Explore some of the results here

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