SEI is spotlighting our amazing Climate Corps Fellows who have been working to protect our climate through a wide range of sustainability initiatives. This week we are headed to the garden to spotlight Haleigh Yang, Climate Corps Education Outside(CCEO) Fellow at Visitacion Valley Elementary School
What is a recent accomplishment that you are proud of?
The biggest hit of my year was providing garden kits for my students. We watched how each others grassy-haired garden monsters grew every week, some more furry than others. They would offer suggestions to one another so everyone could have a well-grown plant! Eventually, I challenged students to grow fava beans and pea seeds. As their stalks shot up, I saw their faces light up. The older kids even created their own scientific experiment, questioning the effects fava beans and pea seeds have on each others growth. The joy of tending to a living thing radiated from them every class session and filled me with happiness!
What is the most important skill or lesson that you have learned during your fellowship?I entered this job excited to share my enthusiasm over ecosystems and the environment. I eventually realized that in this challenging year, I was more than just a garden teacher. For many of the students, I was one of the only new faces they would see each week. I was their silly, exuberant older sibling figure. I was a safe person to confide in, or a warm person to brighten their day. I cherish the relationships I built with each student who turned their screen on, shared their home with me, or just shared their voice. From this year, my one hope is that I created a warm space for students to grow their confidence as young scientists and future changemakers.
If you were a sustainable technology or item, which one would you be and why?If I were a sustainable item, I hope I'd be a rooftop garden! They're extremely efficient, combine the benefits of an ecosystem with the fun of a city, offer unique habitats for all kinds of wildlife in urban environments, and increase social well-being for anyone to relax and enjoy!
Climate Corps, a flagship program of SEI, is a bridge-to-career Fellowship program that recruits and places rising climate professionals with local governments, non-profits, educational institutions, and for-profit partners to implement climate change mitigation and resiliency projects.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field