Lewis H. Britton
Middle School

The Morgan Hill Youth Climate Action Team Secures a Grant for Climate Literacy Initiatives

The Morgan Hill Youth Climate Action Team Secures a Grant for Climate Literacy Initiatives

 

Youth Climate Action

 Students at Morgan Hill Unified School District are poised to make an impact on climate issues through advocacy

The Morgan Hill Youth Climate Action Team (MHYCAT), a dynamic group of students attending Morgan Hill Unified School District, earned a $10,000 grant from Silicon Valley Clean Energy. The grant will be dedicated to advancing climate literacy efforts within the district through targeted outreach and education.

Sofia Ruiz-McGinty, a junior at Live Oak High School and co-lead of MHYCAT, said: “Having young leaders in climate action is crucial. We want to encourage fellow youth to consider career paths that center the climate and we want to work with educators to advance climate education in schools.”

Morgan Hill Unified Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia is proud of the students’ accomplishment. She said: “Students in MHYCAT deserve accolades for showing what is possible when young people take initiative to bring attention to climate issues. We’re excited about the students’ ideas for educators’ professional development, school-based projects, and panels that bring climate experts to our campuses. They’ve already put on an impressive Earth Day Speaker Series, and I’m excited to work with them more in the year to come.”

Investing in Climate Education

The grant allocation includes $6,000 earmarked for professional development and an additional $4,000 designated for student activities related to Earth Day, education nights, and career fairs. MHYCAT recognizes the urgency of climate action and aims to empower students and educators alike with the knowledge and tools needed to address this critical issue. 

Phase One Success: Earth Day-Green Career Speaker Series

MHYCAT wasted no time in implementing phase one of their initiative. During Earth Week in April 2024, the team hosted the Earth Day-Green Career Speaker Series at both Live Oak and Sobrato High Schools. The goal was to inform high school students about exciting opportunities in the field of green careers. Approximately 6-8 speakers per school site shared their career paths, insights, and ways for students to engage actively. Speakers included representatives from Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action, Sierra Club, City of Morgan Hill, City of San Jose, Valley Water, USDA NRCS, Flatiron, and partners from Silicon Valley Clean Energy. The event received enthusiastic student engagement and underscored the importance of climate education within schools.

Phase Two: Professional Development for Educators

The second phase of MHYCAT’s climate education initiative focuses on professional development for educators. The student leaders point to Governor Newsom’s recent  signing of AB285, which mandates that climate change causes, effects, and mitigation strategies be integrated into public school curriculum. Schools must offer relevant coursework no later than the 2024-2025 academic year. MHYCAT recognizes the critical role teachers play in delivering effective climate education.

MHYCAT has asked Dr. Garcia and other district staff responsible for coordinating district-sanctioned trainings to consider a week-long summer program for teachers, modeled after a successful initiative at Fremont High School Unified School District. This program would provide teachers with curriculum insights and in-depth training on climate literacy integration.  The students have even offered to provide $6,000 from their grant to support teacher participation stipends.

YCAT Co Leads

About Morgan Hill Youth Climate Action Team (MHYCAT): MHYCAT is a passionate group of students committed to addressing climate change through education, advocacy, and community engagement. As part of the award-winning Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action organization, MHYCAT aims to create a sustainable future for Morgan Hill and beyond.