Educating the Environmental Leaders of Tomorrow
Next Generation empowers young people in Marin to learn about pressing environmental and social issues, develop leadership skills, and take grassroots action for peace and sustainability.
Imagine a world where our leaders embody environmental sustainability, peace, and social justice because these core values have been instilled in them since grade school. Imagine a world where wise energy use, community gardens, organic food and sustainable practices are a way of life…because like reading and math, they are part of every child’s education.
By engaging young people from elementary school forward, Next Generation is helping to make that vision a reality. Our work is an investment in the future of our community, our state, our planet… Each child we touch, every family we impact brings us a little closer to a world where our connection to one another and to our Mother Earth are honored – and embraced as the only path forward.
Next Generation believes young people have the power to understand and change the world. We engage with the children, youth and families of Marin through community events, school-based activities, outdoor experiences, leadership development, and grassroots campaigns. All of our activities encompass our core values of sustainability, peace, and social justice while promoting inspiration, hope, community, youth leadership, local action, and practical solutions.
Since our founding in 2002, Next Generation has engaged thousands of youth and adults through activities at dozens of schools, youth programs, and our community-based events.
Our Groundbreaking Programs:
Green Schools Program
Youth in Nature Initiative
Waste Program – a partnership with Marin Sanitary
School Garden Program
Leadership Development & Greening Schools Operation
School Based & Community Events
Increasing Environmental Knowledge
We know that you, our constituents, want to know how our programs are influencing the students we touch. Next Generation is committed to implementing programs that have a direct and measurable impact on schools, youth and educators in Marin County. Next Generation sets achievable goals and employs quantitative and qualitative measures to gauge our performance to ensure we are delivering effective activities, outputs and outcomes. We tracked the below outcomes through pre and post testing and activity evaluation surveys.
- increased knowledge of environmental issues
- increased motivation to take action
- increased use of school gardens and open space
Environmental Education Impact Results
During the 2011–2012 school year:
Students at Venetia Valley, San Pedro, Davidson and Mary Silveira Schools received pre and post testing as a way to track the effectiveness of our Green Schools and Youth In Nature Programs. Tests were divided into sections that evaluate students’ personal outlook, use of open space, and knowledge of general sustainability, water & energy, recycling & waste and global warming. Some results include:
In one fourth grade class:
- 74% increase in the number of students who could name the 4 R’s of sustainability (reduce, reuse, recycle , rot)
- 46% increase in the number of students who understood the problems of single serve packaging
- 100% of students reported that they visit their school garden frequently, 23% more than in pre testing.
In one sixth grade class:
- 40% increase in the number of students who could define the term ‘sustainability’
- 76% of students knew what was recyclable at their school
- 24% more students answered that buying food with less packaging is a good way to reduce the amount of waste they create
- 40% average increase in knowledge of the effects of global warming and a 24% average increase in the area of general global warming knowledge
A Few Words from Executive Director, Ellen Donald
Thank you so much for visiting our website. We are in the process of updating it to create a more informative and satisfying experience for you. I hope you visit us often to discover what’s new…
Last year I had the pleasure of working with Sophia, a second grader at Vallecito Elementary School. As a result of our gardening lessons, she asked her parents to give her some space in their yard so she could plant a garden. She planted tomatoes, basil, onions, carrots, bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, kale, spinach, beets and many other vegetables and herbs.
Much to her family’s surprise and delight, their meals soon included delicious, home grown herbs and vegetables. Soon the whole family joined Sophia and helped grow the fresh produce for their table. As a result of Sophia’s participation in the Green Schools Program, her entire family now enjoys nature’s bounty and has an enhanced awareness of sustainable practices.
Sophia is not alone. Many of the children who come through our programs love eating the veggies they’ve had a hand in growing. Parents often ask how I got their child to eat spinach, kale or onions… The answer is simple — by planting, nurturing and harvesting the food themselves, the children are excited to eat the fruits of their labor.
For each child who feels the rich soil and sees his/her seed grow into the food on their table, a whole family experiences the benefits of fresh, organic produce and gains a better understanding of the relationship between ourselves and our planet…
As you navigate through our site, please consider making an investment in our programs. Your contribution brings us closer to ‘a world where wise energy use, community gardens, organic food and sustainable practices are a way of life…because like reading and math, they are part of every child’s education.’