Brower Youth Awards

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The Brower Youth Awards are annual awards presented to six environmental and social justice leaders under the age of 23. The awards are in honor of David Brower and his work mentoring emerging environmental leaders.[1] In addition to a $3,000 cash award and an all expenses paid trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the awards ceremony, winners receive ongoing support and mentoring from Earth Island Institute staff and other environmental leaders.

North American activist leaders ages 13 to 22 are eligible to apply. Projects must have a measurable environmental and social impact and have demonstrated significant progress by the application deadline.[2]

The awards ceremony is held each fall in the San Francisco Bay area, most recently at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.


Outstanding youth leadership and project impact[edit]

"Outstanding leadership" means that the recipient played a major leadership role in creating, organizing and implementing their project or campaign. The juries are looking for the person with the vision, motivation, and leadership skills that made the project or campaign work.

Impact is gauged by the extent to which efforts benefited the environment and community in terms of measurable results (e.g. acres of wildlife habitat protected or restored, number of people engaged in social issues because of the project, numbers of children no longer exposed to toxins, etc.), as well as movement-building and raising awareness.


CONSERVATION is work to eliminate or decrease use of natural resources and negative impacts on ecosystems and communities. For example:

A campaign that plays a substantial role in organizing a local community to pass a public transportation initiative

A project that significantly reduces energy use on a school campus by requiring passive solar design and the use of efficient appliances in all school facilities.

"Conserve the golden eggs carefully. Preserve the goose or there will be no more golden eggs. If you've already damaged the goose, get going on Restoration." ~ David R. Brower


PRESERVATION is work to protect ecosystems, species, indigenous cultures and other irreplaceable elements of the world's natural heritage. For example:

A project that secures protected nesting area for an endangered songbird

A campaign that plays a substantial role in blocking development of Native sacred sites via ongoing peaceful civil disobedience (demonstrations, street theater, marches)


RESTORATION is work to re-establish the healthy functioning of ecosystems; parts of ecosystems; and human communities that manage ecosystems. For example:

A project that reclaims an abandoned urban lot, creates an organic garden.

A campaign that works to eliminate carbon emissions and mitigates the impacts of global warming.

Selection process[edit]

The Brower Youth Award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges, including activists, educators, journalists, and environmental advocates. The Selection Committee changes for each cycle of the Brower Youth Awards. Each jury is made up of experts from a range of disciplines. Supported by a committee of Brower Youth Awards alumni and the Earth Island Institute staff, the Selection Committee ensures that award recipients are engaged in bold, visionary, and powerful leadership and activism.

Since 2000, more than 50 experts have served on the Brower Youth Awards Selection Committee.

The 2009 Selection Committee consisted of Bill McKibben, author-educator-environmentalist; Josh Dorfman, The Lazy Environmentalist; Lynn Hirshfield, Participant Media; Rha Goddess, hip hop artist; Thao Pham, Clif Bar; Barbara Brower, Professor at Portland State and daughter of David Brower; Angie Coiro, host of the Angie Coiro Show; Dave Foreman, Rewilding Institute; Phillipe Cousteau, EarthEcho Intl; and Dune Lankard, Redzone.

Past winners[edit]



  • Barbara Brown, 14, Victoria, TX: launched the "Don't be Crude" program to stop people from using oil as a weed killer
  • Tamica Davis, 18, Dorchester, MA: organized an Anti-Idling March in memory of Walter Kirnon, a young boy who died from asthma
  • Matt Ewing, 20, Chicago, IL: coordinated Iowa Students Toward Environmental Protection (IowaStep), a statewide network of college environmental groups
  • Dave Karpf, 21, Philadelphia, PA: directed the Sierra Student Coalition
  • Ariana Katovich, 22, Berkeley, CA: created the Shoreline Preservation Fund, a ballot initiative for the students at University of California Santa Barbara
  • Bethany Larue, 16, Groveport, OH: set out to change Ohio's destruction of millions of acres of wetlands


  • Deland Chan, 16, New York City, NY: "became the prime mover of the Roots and Shoots project at the 92nd Street Y in New York City"
  • Angela Coryell, 19, Baring, WA: "came up with the idea for, produced, and directed an award-winning documentary film called An Oily Sky"
  • Jared Duval, 18, Lebanon, NH: 'founded and coordinated Students for a Sustainable Future"
  • Robert Fish, 23, Bar Harbor, ME: "led campus activists in a non-violent direct action campaign against old-growth forest product retailers"
  • Heide Iravani, 18, Charlotte, NC: "founded and led a school-based chapter Free the Planet!, serving as a local organizer"
  • Grayson Schleppegrell, 13, Charleston, SC: "led a campaign to rescue endangered swordfish populations off the coast of the East United States"


  • Jessian Choy, 21, Santa Cruz, CA: "founded the Student Environmental Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz"
  • Max Harper, 20, Hotchkiss, CO: "developed a Sustainable Living Theme House at Colorado College to engage students in environmental sustainability"
  • Stephanie Lacy, 17, Bandera, TX: initiated a paper recycling program that diverted 280 tons of paper from landfill and saved 4600 trees
  • Amir Nadav, 17, Eagan, MN: "initiated and led a campaign to reduce Minnesota students' exposure to dangerous diesel exhaust"
  • Ethan Schaffer, 21, Sagle, ID: "created Organic Volunteers, a national outreach program for sustainability and organic food systems"
  • Nathan Wyeth, 17, Chevy Chase, MD: "co-founded the Sierra Student Coalition's Student Action on the Global Economy (SAGE) Program"


  • Rachel Ackoff, 18, Claremont, CA: organized trainings to give activists tools to work for a global trade system that protected the rights of the environment and working people
  • Andrew Azman, 21, Owings Mill, MD: founded CU Biodiesel, to switch University of Colorado buses and City of Boulder buses from petroleum diesel fuel to vegetable oil biodiesel fuel
  • Whitney Cushing, 16, Homer, AK: founded Homer Alaskan Youth for Environmental Action (HAYEA) who successfully stopped oil and gas development near native villages
  • Andrew Hunt, 22, Bethesda, MD: established a Maryland-wide network of college and high school student environmental activists to affect public policy
  • Illai Kenney, 14, Jonesboro, GA: cofounded Georgia Kids Against Pollution in response to the growing numbers of local children with asthma in the Atlanta metro area
  • Thomas Nichols, 14, Corrales, NM: "conceived and implemented a program to preserve the fragile Rio Grande ecosystems"


  • Lily Dong, 16, South Pasadena, CA: protected and restored the last remaining undeveloped area in Los Angeles, the Arroyo Seco
  • Hannah McHardy, 17, Seattle, WA: founded The Old Growth Project to persuade her high school to switch from using virgin fiber paper to 100 percent post-consumer-waste paper
  • Billy Parish, 22, New Haven, CT: "rallied students at hundreds of colleges around the Northeast to take on global warming with The Climate Campaign"
  • Eugene Pearson, 21, Boulder, CO: convinced administration to make CU-Boulder's building standards the greenest in the country
  • Christina Wong, 21, Sacramento, CA: founded a local chapter of the League of Conservation Voters, a non-partisan watchdog organization at UC-Berkeley
  • Shadia Wood, 17, New York, NY: spent years lobbying to pass legislation on New York's Superfund, even constructing a lemonade stand in front of the Capitol to raise money


  • Kayla Carpenter, 17, and Erika Chase, 17, Hoopa, CA: organizing the Salmon Run Relay to educate the community about the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, their fish populations, and native diet and cultures
  • Andrea Garza, 21, Albuquerque, NM: founding Esperanza Unida, a group focused on social and environmental justice in her hometown Brownsville, Texas
  • Jessica Rimington, 19, Cotuit, MA: launching the One World Youth Project to promote cultural exchange, youth leadership and community service around the world
  • Daniel Rosen, 19, Flagstaff, AZ: organizing "All Peoples Power Summit: Building Communities of Hope, Strength and Sustainability," which brought 200 youth from around the globe
  • La Constance Shahid, 18, San Francisco, CA: restoring the Yosemite Wetlands in Bayview-Hunters Point and working to combat the destructive effects of industrialization and landfills
  • Zander Srodes, 15, Placidia, FL: publishing the Turtle Talks Activity book, curricula, and other materials to promote conservation of loggerhead turtles


  • Jessica Assaf, 16, San Rafael, CA: creating "Operation Beauty Drop" during which large bins were placed in public malls for teenagers to drop off their toxic beauty products
  • May Boeve, 21, Middlebury, VT: traveling on The Road to Detroit, a 15,000-mile (24,000 km) road trip around the country to collect over 11,000 pledges to buy union-made, clean cars when they are made available
  • Karoline Evin McMullen, 16, Chesterland, OH: founding Save Our Stream, which advocated for the restoration of the Chagrin River
  • Alberta Nells, 16, Flagstaff, AZ: mobilizing youth to successfully halt the development of an Arizona ski resort on peaks held sacred by over 13 Native American Nations
  • Elissa Smith, 21, Ottawa, ON: influencing U.S. policy and participating in bilateral climate negotiations with China, Brazil, India, and Kenya as a Canadian government delegate
  • Ruben Vogt, 22, El Paso, TX: founding CYnergy Fellowship, dedicated to empowering students to tackle prevalent issues by devising effective community-based solutions


  • Rachel Barge, 21, Berkeley, CA: creating The Green Initiative Fund, a student fee referendum passed by the students at the University of California - Berkeley
  • Erica Fernandez, 16, Oxnard, CA: mobilizing the youth and Latino voices in her community against a liquified natural gas facility off the coast of Oxnard
  • Q'Orianka Kilcher, 17, Santa Monica, CA: directing publicity and media attention from a recent film towards the plight faced by the Achuar community of Peru
  • Alexander Lin, 14, Westerly, RI: collecting 21,000 pounds of E-waste and helping to draft and pass a statewide bill banning the dumping of E-waste
  • Carlos Moreno, 19, Boston, MA: addressing the increase of violence in Boston and creating more opportunities for summer youth employment with his Summer Jobs Campaign
  • Jon Warnow, 23, Burlington, VT: developing an internet strategy for Step It Up 2007, a coordinated national day of climate action


  • Marisol Becerra, 18, Chicago, IL: mapping and inventory of industrial toxins[4]
  • Jessie-Ruth Corkins, 17, Bristol, VT: leadership of the Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative
  • Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, 21, St. Paul, MN: spearheading the creation of the Clean Energy Revolving Fund (CERF) at Macalester College
  • Kari Fulton, 22, Washington, DC: co-founding the Loving Our City, Loving Ourselves (LOCLOS) campus and community initiative, as well as training young leaders of color through the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative
  • Phebe Meyers, 18, Woodstock, VT: co-founding Change the World Kids, which focuses on permanently creating a migratory corridor in the Costa Rican rainforest, restoring it with native trees, and inspiring others to protect the global environment
  • Ivan Stiefel, 22, Mullica Hill, NJ: "co-creating an alternative spring break for university students to stand in solidarity with communities affected by coal industry abuses"[5]


  • Robin Bryan, 21, Winnipeg, MB: helped save nearly 1 million acres (4,000 km2) of boreal forest from industrial logging[6]
  • Sierra Crane-Murdoch, 21, Middlebury, VT: co-founded Power Past Coal to spotlight communities impacted by the mining, processing, and burning of coal
  • Alec Loorz, 15, Ventura, CA: speaks to thousands about the impact of climate change on the next generation
  • Diana Lopez, 20, San Antonio, TX: co-created an organic garden at a site in San Antonio, Texas as part of the struggle for environmental justice
  • Adarsha Shivakumar, 16, Pleasant Hill, CA: created Project Jatropha for a biofuel solution in rural India
  • Hai Vo, 22, Irvine, CA: transformed the food purchasing and eating practices at universities across California


  • Freya Chay, 15, Kenai, AK: energizing the Alaskan legislature
  • Marcus Grignon, 21, Keshena, WI: Encouraging Sustainability on the Menominee Reservation
  • De’Anthony Jones, 18, San Francisco, CA: Fostering Service Learning
  • Ana Elisa Peréz-Quintero, 20, San Juan, PR: Promoting Environmental Education
  • Varsha Vijay, 22, Coralville, IA: Empowering Amazon Tribes with Information
  • Misra Walker, 18, Bronx, NY: Getting People to the Park


  • Victor Davila, 17, Bronx, NY: Making environmental education fun and engaging for young folks
  • Alexander Epstein, 20, Philadelphia, PA: Mobilizing New York City high school students around the parallel struggles of New Orleans and their own communities
  • Rhiannon Tomtishen & Madison Vorva, 15 and 16, Ann Arbor, MI: Petitioning palm oil plantations (for Girl Scout cookies!) which are one of the leading causes of orangutan habitat destruction
  • Tania Pulido, 21, Richmond, CA: Running a community garden for youth in a city of high crime and industrial pollution
  • Kyle Thiermann, 21, Santa Cruz, CA: Shifting local economy away from coal-funding banks using video marketing tactics
  • Junior Walk, 21, Whitesville, WV: educating people about the long-term environmental, health and community degradation caused by coal mining


  • Martin Figueroa, 21, Los Angeles, CA: Reducing water use and improve energy efficiency on his college campus
  • Jacob Glass, 21, Glastonbury, CT: Created a film to document grassroots efforts to save an 88,000-acre wilderness area
  • Ryland King, 22, Goleta, CA: Started a program that recruits college students to teach elementary school kids about their environment
  • Asa Needle, 16, Worcester, MA: Leading a youth-run cooperative that offers residents soil testing, remediation, and lead-free landscaping services
  • Maya Salsedo, 19, Santa Cruz, CA: Creating a Youth Food Bill of Rights intended to give local communities more control over the food they eat
  • Brittany Stallworth, 21, Washington, DC: Founded "Green is the New Black" — a food and environmental justice campaign at Howard University


  • Amia Odeh, San Juan, PR: "Fostering sustainable water consumption at the University of Puerto Rico’s Rio Piedras campus"
  • Chloe Maxmin, Nobleboro, ME: "Challenging one of the oldest higher education institutions in the U.S. to divest from fossil fuels"
  • Cassandra Lin, Westerly, RI: "Connecting the dots between community needs and biofuel waste for an unconventional solution"
  • Alex Freid, Durham, NH: "Launching resourceful student led programs on college campuses to reduce waste and encourage reuse"
  • Jonathan Ferrer, Brooklyn, NY: "Generating climate awareness and resiliency amongst New York City's youth"
  • Arielle Klagsbrun, St. Louis, MO: "Mobilizing communities to create a healthy future free of dependence on big coal"


  • Sean Russel, North Port, FL: "Launching an educational campaign about marine debris"
  • Doorae Shin, Honolulu, HI: "Working towards a ban on Styrofoam use in Hawai‘i"
  • Tsechu Dolma, Woodside NY: "Creating a model for sustainable food security in Upper Mustang, Nepal"
  • Jackson Koeppel, Highland Park: "MI: Building community resilience through solar powered infrastructure"
  • Lynnea Shuck, Fremont, CA: "Propelling childhood curiosity into lasting environmental stewardship"
  • Tiffany Carey, Detroit, MI: "Engaging youth in solutions-based, citizen-science projects"


  • Celeste Tinajero, Sparks, NV: "Making impactful and lasting changes through greening a high school campus"
  • Ryan Camero, Stockton, CA: "Using creative storytelling to chronicle a fragile delta and the communities that surround it"
  • Kate Weiner, White Plains, NY: "Creating an alternative space for environmental media through a student-run arts collective"
  • Dyanna Jaye, Charlottesville, VA: "Mobilizing a civically engaged environmental youth coalition"
  • Jess Grady-Benson, Claremont, CA: "Fostering fossil fuel divestment campaigns on college campuses through student training"
  • JP Viñals, Bronx, NY: "Energizing a campaign for urban green spaces through youth engagement"


  • Heidi Kritz, Dillingham, AK: "Fueling a decade-long fight to protect Bristol Bay"
  • Erica Davis, Knoxville, TN: "Advocating for frontline communities in Tennessee"
  • Susette Onate, Hialeah, FL: "Fostering stewardship through a native butterfly garden"
  • Karina Gonzalez, Flagstaff, AZ: "Leading inclusive divestment efforts in Arizona"
  • Xerxes Libsch, White Plains, NY: "Restoring and creating an educational wild space"
  • Will Amos, Irvine, CA: "Engineering possibility for impactful change"


  • Anthony Torres, Babylon, NY: "Inspiring communities to demand climate action"
  • Charlie Jiang, Washington D.C.: "Pushing Wall Street to make just investments"
  • Dejah Powell, Chicago, IL: "Fostering a love for the environment"
  • Anne Lee, Sammamish, WA: "Challenging schools to adopt low carbon solutions"
  • Dineen O'Rourke, East Quogue, NY: "Encouraging non-violent, direct action"
  • Mercedes Thompson and Claire Wayner, Baltimore, MD: "Working towards a plastic-free Maryland"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sarah von Schagen, The Youth Shall Set You Free, October 27, 2006
  2. ^ NEA, Grants and Awards: Brower Youth Awards, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-17. Retrieved 2008-11-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Lolly Bowean, Little Village teen wins environmental activism award. Chicago Tribune, November 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Kevin Callahan, Mullica Hill man honored for helping environment, Courier-Post, November 11, 2008.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2010-06-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]