On Saturday, February 1, an eager group of seventh through twelfth grade students from 16 schools across the county came together for the Environmental Youth Leadership Network (EYLN) Winter Summit. Throughout the day, students participated in breakout sessions on biodiversity and sea level rise, heard from UC Berkeley environmental leaders, used art as a creative outlet to manage their eco-anxiety, and collaborated to develop ideas for bringing environmental sustainability further into their school communities. 

Students left the summit understanding how to get involved in climate action on their campus and feeling empowered after connecting with other students who deeply care about sustainability. Some of the commitments students made before the leaving the summit were to perform waste audits at their schools, divert waste from landfills through recycling and composting education campaigns, practice citizen science and protect biodiversity through documenting species on the iNaturalist app, and design Earth Week activities for their schools to increase engagement. 

One participant enthusiastically shared the following reflection in the closing circle, I learned that collaboration is necessary to make a difference, and it takes a lot of commitment, effort and dedication to cause change. I am leaving this summit feeling empowered to make a difference in my community!”

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