Creating the next generation of environmental leaders

  • December 09, 2020
  • News

By Cindy Wilems, Director of Education

Have you ever been inspired by a group of teenagers?

I was recently when The Kinkaid School’s marine science classes joined Galveston Bay Foundation educators for part 2 of our Environmental Leadership virtual workshop. This workshop is a two-part series in which students learn how to be leaders for the environment, research local issues in their watershed by investigating the Galveston Bay Report Card website, and then create action plans to help solve local environmental issues.

To give you a little more background, the Houston region is made of 22 watersheds that are all part of the larger Galveston Bay watershed, which drains into Galveston Bay. Whatever happens in these sub-watersheds, either good or bad, will affect the Bay in some fashion. The goal of this workshop is to have students identify environmental issues in their own community and find real, tangible, solutions. Solutions that they can actually implement during the school year.

Oftentimes we think of environmental solutions being someone else’s job or something that we aren’t equipped to do.  This workshop aims to defeat that notion, proving to students that they can make a difference in their community.

Kinkaid students researched and worked on their action plans for two weeks prior to presenting to their teachers (Sarah Shea & Tatum Branaman), peers, and Galveston Bay Foundation educators. When the presentation day arrived, we were all anxious, excited, and a little nervous. This was the first time we’ve done this workshop virtually and the students were all working from home as well. The workshop could be a hit or a flop – we wouldn’t know until the presentations started!

Fortunately, it worked out perfectly and the students went above and beyond our original concept! We were completely blown away by the thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and creativity that came from these students. They not only came up with plans but already started implementing them. The work that each group accomplished is highlighted below. We look forward to checking back in with Kinkaid at the end of the school year to see how their plans turned out.

If you’re interested in participating in the Environmental Leadership virtual workshop or any of our other virtual workshops, check them out here. We can host schools, homeschool groups, scouts, youth groups, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


Group plans (in no particular order)

Group 1: How to Help Prevent the Contamination of Seafood in Galveston Bay
Create infographics and magnets to help warn people of contaminated seafood and plan to partner with existing clubs in school to spread the word.
Skyler Swanson, Virginia Murchison, Artemis-Melania Postolos

Group 2: Plan to Stop Excess Phosphorus in Buffalo Bayou
Advertise eco-friendly laundry detergent (with no phosphorus) by partnering with school clubs and social media, targeting the senior class since they will be making their own laundry decisions in college.
Lauren Moak, Will Mitchell, and Martha MacMane

Group 3: Promote proper pet waste disposal at Memorial Park
Create fliers and placed compostable pet waste bags around Memorial Park as well as promote it on social media and partner with community groups.
Find them on Instagram: @goclean_gogreen_
Lila Griggs, Gabby Fuller, Chase Pelter, and Bella Dawley





Group 4: Raise awareness of flash flooding in Buffalo Bayou and solutions to prevent it
Create a Twitter account to raise awareness and partner with school clubs and community groups.
Find them on Twitter @savethebayou
Lexie Strauss, Bradyn Robertson, Grayson Lattimer, Press Robinson


Group 5: Reduce waste in Brays Bayou
Build composting bins for pet waste, raise awareness via posters and social media via a “Pick up after your pets” campaign.
Lauren Locher, Wilson Cameron, and Harrison Joyner


Group 6: Buffalo Bayou Wetland Preservation Awareness
Create a survey to see how much people at the school already know about wetlands, create posters raising awareness about the local wetlands to hang at school and around the neighborhood, write an article for the Houston Chronicle.
Sarah Snoots, Patrick Iglesias, Johnny House, Braeden Arkless

Group 7: Ship Channel Pollution
Create a club at school to spread awareness of pollution in the Houston Ship Channel, including implement trips to the channel to sample water quality throughout the year.
Ella DuCharme, Ryan Pipkin, and Suzannah Gilmartin

Group 8: Galveston Bay and Bayou Litter/Trash Problem & Data Collection
High school students will mentor and partner with elementary students to collect trash along Buffalo or Brays Bayou on a monthly basis. Additional trips to collect trash along Galveston Bay shorelines will occur 1-2 times per year. Data will be collected and an awareness campaign surrounding the results will occur at school.
Molly Smith, Olivia Howard, Ashley Holcomb, Jason Boué