LEAPing ahead with Students & Mentors

LEAP grads 2013 smallToday’s final presentations by students who participated in the Leadership Environmental Action Program (LEAP) were impressive. Young leaders Lexi, Erica, Steven, Diego, Tristan and Belen presented to their parents, San Diego Coastkeeper’s Board President, our Community Advisory Council—which mentored these high school students over the past six months, and the staff that organized LEAP as a capstone event and celebration of their success. They brought to life their love of our water, awareness of the urgency of protecting it and knowledge of how to do that–passions and skills they will carry into their futures.

Lexi designed an environmental awareness week that she will teach at Solana Pacific school for 5th and 6th graders that will have the younger students take on recycling projects and commit to a pledge of sustainability. See her capstone presentation here.

Erica created a blog about environmental issues. She talked about meeting Todd Gloria and writing the Friendship Garden between the US and Mexico. CLICK THROUGH to her blog here

Steven wanted to help his community learn, as he did, about the effects of stormwater so he designed an informational brochure to share. His ultimate goal – like that of Coastkeeper – is to provide people with knowledge and motivate them to take ACTION. “Eye-opener….now I notice things around me that affect water quality” READ page 1 and page 2 his brochure here. See his capstone presentation here.

Diego organized a cleanup in the community of Logan. He discovered that the best way to get people to act is by tapping into his own network; and that being able to get in touch with others and motivate the to participate will increase his impact. LEAP “provided me with a lot of new opportunities and gave me motivation to keep doing things like this”. 

Tristan created an ocean awareness video for his peers and younger surfers that shows how trash and stormwater pollution gets to the ocean and affects the health of the water they spend time in. “I want to inspire younger surfers.”

Belen made an interactive presentation to her school clubs about water conservation and challenged her peers to talk about what water means to them and how they save it. 

The students received certificates of achievement and a reusable goody bag with a book from Coastkeeper, a reusable water bottle from the Rob Machado Foundation (local surfer and environmental educator) and kayaking certificates from Chula Vista Kayak (owned by Community Advisory Council member Harry). Birch Aquarium at Scripps, one of our favorite partners in the community, extended the learning experience by providing us a room and hosting the students and their families in the aquarium after our potluck lunch. We chatted about their hobbies, how much they enjoyed the trip to Border Field State Park and kayaking in Chula Vista with the Community Council members. And they talked about plans to become bio-engineers, attend Harvard and study in China. The future of our water and our community lies in the hands of these smart young people. They’re off to an excellent start.