- Kayla Anzalone
- February 1, 2023
The fall cycle of the Climate Leaders Fellowship guided high school students in researching climate change effects within their own communities and finding solutions they can implement locally. Students partnered with local organizations to launch donation drives to support those impacted and collaborated with other students around the world to achieve their goals.
The fellowship is offered as a collaboration between Stanford University’s Deliberative Democracy Lab and the Rustic Pathways Foundation.
Read about Alex’s experience below!
My name is Alex Pool and I live in Miami, Florida. I am an 11th grade student at the Miami Country Day School. I participated in the fall 2022 Climate Fellowship, which was a great opportunity that I learned so much from and I want to continue building on.
My goal in the fellowship was to minimize pollution through reducing the littering on our beaches in Miami. These chemicals are not natural to the environment and are hazardous not just to humans, but also to animals. I wanted to start with a beach cleanup to help decrease the amount of litter locally.
Originally, I intended to hold a beach cleanup through my school’s environment club. In my search to help find an outside partner to organize this effort, I was ultimately led to Miami’s EcoAventure volunteer coordinator. He was extremely helpful throughout the process and was patient when problems arose.
During the organization process within my school, I spoke with the environmental science teacher, and after some discussions, he was able to include my project into his class. This got me thrilled for not only getting my community involved, but also having them recognize the issue and learn within the classroom.
After numerous setbacks, I was ultimately able to coordinate a forest restoration and invasive plant removal at Arch Creek Park. This modification to the location was easier because it was closer to my school, but it still met my original objectives.
Working with my school was a great experience, but it also showed me that there is always something new to learn and even add to my project.
I never imagined my project would be incorporated into an environmental science lesson at my high school, but it was! The forest restoration is scheduled for March 9th, and my school is currently discussing if this could eventually be a yearly field trip.
Another part of my project was raising money for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center camp which provides a camp for children to help, “create better informed and more active stewards for our natural environment” according to their website.
This is a free four-week camp for kids, and I would like to be able to support it by donating to their program which is educating young children about environmental responsibility!
I’ve enjoyed this process and discovered how much I can do when I set a goal. I’ve currently raised $200 and am still collecting more donations up until the cleanup date. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this project goes in the future.
Through this fellowship, I gained a lot of new knowledge and experience on how to lead my community in a cause that matters to me.