In April, SEI’s Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MarinSEL) hosted its annual Green Business Leaders Event: Collaboration in Action at Terra Linda High School. The event brought together local environmental and green business leaders, as well as, teachers, friends, and families to highlight the innovative sustainability work of the MarinSEL students; and to showcase the eight student-led sustainable businesses they created.
As part of the School of Environmental Leadership (SEL), 11th grade students are given the opportunity to develop and implement sustainable businesses from start to finish through the Sustainable Enterprise Course, which qualifies for college credits. Throughout the course, students create business plans for a sustainable enterprise, which they then pitch to a panel of mock investors who select the top eight ideas to be implemented. Then, using their collaboration and project management skills, students work in groups to create and carry out an implementation plan for their sustainable businesses. The product of their dedication and hard work is showcased at the annual Green Business Leaders Event. The end-of-program event also provides the opportunity for students to network with established green business leaders and innovators within the sustainability field.
Sophia Smulewitz from Free Spirit Suds: Clean Earth, Clean Body presenting their product to attendees.
During this year’s event, students from the 8 sustainable businesses presented their sustainable business commercials in front of an audience and participated in an outdoor tabling event where they gave sales pitches to attendees. Each sustainable business table had their products on display and for sale!
This year’s event featured an inspiring keynote speaker presentation by Frank Tate, CEO of Built with Biology. Tate shared that he was “blown away at the forward thinking, project based approach [SEL] has to learning,” which provides students with “a massive head start for real life learning!” Tate gave a touching and inspiring speech centered around the theme: Do not mourn who you are not, celebrate who you are. He encouraged each attendee to embrace their authentic selves, to celebrate their unique characteristics, and to utilize these gifts to propel themselves forward towards becoming the best version of themselves. Following the event, Tate shared that one of the highlights of the evening was being “in awe of the projects” and having the opportunity to “celebrate the incredible accomplishments the [students] made.”
Student Sustainable Businesses
Evo-Natural Deodorant: Smell Fresh and Keep Our Earth Clean
The Evo-Natural Deodorant: Smell Fresh and Keep Our Earth Clean team presenting their sustainable business commercial. Pictured: Beckett Klock, Nadia Hutchison, Livia Danku, Nola Gabbard (left to right).
“Evo Natural is a sustainable business that creates an all-natural deodorant that not only is non-toxic but also helps your environmental impact. We focus on making sure all our products are natural and not harmful to the skin. Not only are our products clean, we use packaging that is good for the environment.”
Instagram (handle: @naturallyevo)
Fire Flora: Wildflowers for Wildfires
The Fire Flora: Wildflowers for Wildfires team presenting their sustainable Business commercial. Pictured: Emarson Dearborn, Maddie Baird, Lindy Ballard (left to right).
“Fire Flora supplies Fire Resistant Landscaping Kits to households that are concerned about the fire safety of their yard. Each kit includes one or two fire-resistant plants, brochures that help the customer further their yard’s fire resistance, and a wall calendar with general monthly fire safety tips. We hope to make our community a safer and more beautiful place.”
Instagram (handle: @_fireflora_)
Flavor Profiles: To Honor and Celebrate
The Flavor Profiles: To Honor and Celebrate team presenting. Pictured: Sarah Mondesir, Harita Kalvai, Hannah Hood (left to right).
“Flavor Profiles is a business that creates Storytelling cookbooks that are made to honor and celebrate the lives of Black women who have died due to police brutality. Through our business, we hope to uplift voices, while also exposing people to the food many people within the Black community hold close to their hearts.”
Instagram (handle: @flavor_profiles)
Los Labios del Pacífico: Soothing Taste of Coastal Life
Catherine Fahrner and Jude Anderson from the Los Labios del Pacífico team showcasing their trifold.
"Los Labios del Pacífico is an environmentally conscious, palm oil-free brand that makes a soothing lip balm. This product provides education around the issue that is plastic pollution as well as deforestation and how palm oil contributes to that issue. In doing this, we are creating a more general understanding to stay away from products containing palm oil and made with plastics!"
Instagram (handle: @loslabiosdelpacifico)
Simple Sents Candle Co.
The Simple Scents Candle Co. presenting their sustainable business commercial.
"Simple Scents Candle Co. is a sustainable candle company. Simple Scents provides high-quality beeswax candles, using recycled jars, beeswax, coconut oil, and essential oils as its only ingredients. As well, Simple Scents provides education on scents from around the world and their cultural importance, promoting inclusivity in our community."
Instagram (handle: @simplescents.candleco)
The Backyard Birdhouses product displayed during the tabling event.
“At Backyard Birdhouses, we build and sell sustainable nest boxes. These products are made out of 100% recycled wood that is healthy for birds and the environment as a whole. We are committed to educating our customers about local birds that live in their neighborhoods through our products and social media.”
Instagram (handle: @backyardbirdhouses)
Patchy Pride: Creating community wherever you go!
Savana Hopson and Gabriel Teper showcasing Patchy Pride’s trifold.
"Here at Patchy Pride, we aim to create an inclusive community through the power of queer representation. We create sustainable pins and patches representing flags and identities of the LGBTQ+ community. Our products are completely customizable to ensure the representation of the customer’s unique identity and are made with recycled materials! We believe that to create revolutionary change, you need to be the revolution which is exactly what we wish to inspire our customers to do.”
Patchy Pride Order Form
Instagram (handle: @patchypride)
Free Spirit Suds: Clean Earth, Clean Body
Sophia Smulewitz and Melina Drazien during the Free Spirit Sud’s sustainable business commercial presentation.
“Free Spirit suds offers sustainable soap made with natural ingredients that benefit your health and wellness and is available to all. We use food-based dyes and exfoliators to craft our soap along with paper packaging in order to keep toxic chemicals and plastics out of the ocean and away from organisms.”
Instagram (handle @freespirit.suds)
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The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field