By Giselle Serafin and Jessica Redden
Eco Club co-founders Beatrix and Nana
Nana and Beatrix both started at John Burroughs High School in the fall of 2020 - right in the middle of the pandemic. They had met in middle school, where they were Co-Presidents of the Activism Club. The two decided to start an Eco Club, narrowing their focus to the environment because of its many ties to other issues they are passionate about. As Eco Club Co-Founders and Co-Presidents, Nana and Beatrix have created an impressive community wide environmental stewardship effort, all through online platforms, while only in their freshman year of high school.
In fall of 2020, the Eco Club participated in SEI’s Energy Challenge, and created a campaign that educated their fellow students about the importance of conserving energy through social media posts, videos and posters. They were ultimately the winners of the challenge!
Eco Club's posters from their Energy Challenge Campaign
Driven by the capabilities of community education, Nana noted how participating in the challenge helped them learn different skills,“We found the Energy Challenge and got more inspired on how to use skills to advocate like on social media.” As winners, they used their prize money to buy reusable tote bags which they plan to sell and raise funds for their club and also to buy gifts as a thank you to frontline workers in their community.
The Eco Club has grown more and more in reach since the Energy Challenge. They began making connections with other groups including the CA Youth Climate Activists and the Burbank Eco Council. The club has grown to 18 committed members with the leadership of Nana and Beatrix and have had overwhelming support from their community. Their club advisor, Ms. Russon, shared how proud she is of these students: “Every time I hear them speak I am in awe, they are both such holistic individuals, and we have never even met in person!”
This spring, the Eco Club is participating in SEI’s Earth Day Challenge, and their campaign is focused on waste reduction. Nana and Beatrix are driven by big ideas, and the format of the Earth Day Challenge has helped them narrow down to a particular topic area. Among the numerous events they have planned, they have been hosting virtual zero waste art classes for their local elementary schools reaching over 100 elementary school students directly in the Burbank community. They are also hosting a weeklong festival for Earth Week, featuring a whole range of creative virtual activities. Their Earth Day Challenge campaign has engaged over 700 community members online.
Eco Club leaders teaching a recycled art class over Zoom
After high school, Nana hopes to pursue the medical field, and Beatrix is interested in art and performing. They noted that although they might not go into the sustainability field, they know they can have a positive impact through their jobs, because every career has ties to the environment. These two are wise beyond their years in their understanding the nuances of climate solutions. Nana and Beatrix both shared that as leaders of the Eco Club has been “an honor that we can inspire others.” These students hope that everyone can create positive change, especially to help the people most impacted by environmental issues.
To see more of the Eco Club’s impressive work check out their website here.
The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field