“I want to make sure beautiful, natural environments, like the Yuba River, are preserved for the species that live there, as well as the enjoyment of sharing these places with friends and family for generations to come. I plan to learn all I can and make a positive impact on the environment. I want to help people realize that no matter how small or big your actions are, they will all connect to the bigger picture.”
— Amelia Heinritz, Sierra College Freshman, and 2020 SYRCL Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship Awardee
Today’s youth have inherited a planet deeply impacted by climate change. They have risen to the occasion in unprecedented ways, protesting against government inaction on the climate crisis, and have become one of the most influential global social movements of our time.
September is usually a big month for students—the return to school, the start of a new semester and a chance to connect with like-minded people in after-school clubs and on-campus enrichment or activism opportunities. While some of that may not be possible this year, we want to recognize all the incredible efforts young environmental activists are still putting forth, despite the current challenges they face.
In honor of young activists and “art-i-vists” (or activism at the intersection of social and environmental justice and the arts) mobilizing for vital environmental justice around the world—whether it is through their civic action, their studies or their artistic talents- we are distinguishing the month of September as our “WSFF Youth Environmental Art-I-Vism Month.”
We’re thrilled to feature work from both local students within the Yuba Watershed, and from young environmental activists and filmmakers from all over the U.S. Our “WSFF Youth Environmental Art-I-Vism Month” includes programs featuring the following.
The WSFF 2020 Virtual Student Art Gallery
Highlighting work from Nevada Union High School, Ghidotti Early College High School and Forest Charter High School artists, these beautiful pieces confront the impact of climate change in powerful ways, and ultimately, the consequences of not acting to conserve our precious ecosystems. Click on each piece to see the talented student artist behind the work!
Youth-Centered Films from the 2019 Wild & Scenic Film Festival High School Program
Check out the links below for these three amazing films featuring youth climate activists. From students lobbying in DC, to a young filmmaker partnering with Native American Tribes to protect some of our nation’s most treasured lands, we hope you enjoy these inspiring stories.
Girls & Glaciers
Follow the story of teenagers Akua and Melodie as they expand their personal boundaries in challenging high alpine glaciated terrain. They learn field science, art, wilderness skills, and teamwork through the nonprofit organization Girls on Ice.
In December 2016 President Obama established Bears Ears National Monument in Utah to protect the sacred sites of Native Americans. In December 2017, President Trump slashed over 85% of the monument leaving it unprotected and potentially open to mining. When Hannah Mattner first heard about this news on social media, she felt inspired to go deeper than reading an article. Having never been to the monument herself, she sets out on a road trip to experience the land firsthand.
The Last Straw
Nine-year-old Milo expresses his concern about the millions of straws that pollute waterways, waste fossil fuel, and harm ocean creatures. He convinces restaurants to “be-straw-free”, addresses Congress, and is championed by international media. His campaign has now been adopted by many environmental groups. In the end, three Cape Cod girls suggest that you, “take the pledge to skip the straw!” Check out Milo’s Advocacy Page here.
Check out our Facebook Event, WSFF Youth Art-I-Vism Month! for more info!
We hope you feel as inspired by and called to act as we do when you check out all the fantastic work these local and international youth environmental activists and “art-i-vists” are doing to protect our precious resources, ecosystems and wildlife, both here in the Yuba Watershed and beyond!
If you’d like to learn more about SYRCL’s or WSFF Youth Programming, or how to get involved, check out SYRCL’s River Education Program, or email Ray Lubitz (SYRCL River Education Manager) at email@example.com.