New program mobilizes elementary students to act on environmental issues

New program mobilizes elementary students to act on environmental issues
August 20
09:30 2020

By Miller C. Coffey

Local non-profit Piedmont Environmental Alliance (PEA) is launching a new program to promote environmental literacy, stewardship, and action among elementary-aged students in the Piedmont Triad – Young Eco Leaders. As Greta Thunberg and other teenage trailblazers make waves across the globe with their calls for climate action, PEA’s new program is cultivating young environmental leaders right here in Winston-Salem and throughout the Piedmont Region.

Through Young Eco Leaders, students are invited to accomplish action items from six planet-protecting categories to earn recognition as environmental leaders. Each week, participants will engage with activities like making a hummingbird feeder, going for an early-morning nature walk, or writing a Letter to the Editor of local papers. Students will also participate in live virtual events, webinars, and weekly raffles.

The decision to launch the program this fall comes in response to community demand for online learning opportunities. In the spring, PEA shifted its signature event, the Piedmont Earth Day Fair, to a fully online event, reaching more than 60,000 viewers with high-quality, environmentally-focused content. Students and families were a significant part of the Earth Day Fair audience, expressing a strong desire for environmental education and opportunities for action. Each Young Eco Leader activity is designed specifically to be completed in a safe, socially distant environment.

PEA has added dozens of educational resources on the PEA website to help families connect Young Eco Leaders with science and facts about the environment and the global climate crisis. PEA staff and volunteers are on board to help local youngsters complete the activities. 

“Young Eco Leaders is an exciting new opportunity for local students and families,” said PEA Executive Director Jamie Maier. “The fun, hands-on activities engage young students in important issues that impact their lives and teach the tools for these youth to become leaders committed to building a more sustainable and resilient community.”

Each year, PEA reaches more than 4,000 students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools. The non-profit will continue to provide their energy and water conservation curriculum to students throughout the district virtually this semester, but hopes to educate and inspire even more families this year through the new Young Eco Leaders program that reaches younger kids in the community.

Community members who are interested in helping their kids become a certified PEA Young Eco Leader can sign up now online at For more information on PEA, visit

Miller C. Coffey is the communications and engagement coordinator for Piedmont Environmental Alliance.

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