Growing Change: A Teen's Eco-Initiative Cultivating Freshness in New York School
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Growing Change: A Teen's Eco-Initiative Cultivating Freshness in New York School

The Climate Leaders Fellowship program teaches students about climate change and environmental sustainability, and guides them in designing and launching a volunteer project in their own communities.

The online program is offered in a collaboration between the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation.

Read Riya’s guest post about her experience below!

Riya Sarwal
Age 15
Melville, New York

Hi, my name is Riya Sarwal and I live in Melville, New York. I am 15 years old. My interests include service, art, and sports.

One specific problem my two friends and I were trying to address with our project was to help out our kitchen staff at our school. We wanted to grow fresh herbs and vegetables in a garden outside of our cafeteria so that our kitchen staff could use these ingredients at their convenience when creating our lunches.

Our project will reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon storage in soil and plants.

This project was implemented at our high school Friends Academy. My group spent a morning soiling the herb garden and then planting herbs such as cilantro, basil, etc. We also planted some vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.

We were trying to engage the students at our school and we were trying to assist our kitchen staff. We did this to further help our community and to make a difference at our school. We saw our plants grow extremely well over time as the school year came to an end.

We also got great feedback from the kitchen staff. Additionally, we received compliments on the new herb garden from the students at our school. At our school we were assisted by Tommy Norris who usually takes on similar projects as ours around the school.

Participating in the Climate Leaders Fellowship made me feel accomplished and content as we were able to help our community in a way that is also helpful to the environment.

I learned many new skills by doing this project and we were able to help our kitchen staff use fresh ingredients! I am very proud of the results we have seen and the feedback we have gotten.


About the Author

Kayla Anzalone