Sunday, February 25 , 2018, 8:48 am | Fair 46º


Environmental Education for the Next Generation a Finalist for $100,000 Prize

The UCSB student-founded nonprofit could win with enough Facebook votes

Environmental Education for the Next Generation, a nonprofit organization founded by UCSB undergraduates to spread environmental literacy among students in the Santa Barbara public school system, has been named one of five finalists for the $100,000 grand prize in the Dockers “Wear the Pants” Contest.

Founder and executive director Ryland King, a 21-year-old environmental science major at UCSB, submitted a plan to expand EENG’s Environmental Science & Sustainability Program statewide. The program, which links teams of college student-instructors to first- and second-grade classrooms for activities and experiments that promote critical thinking about the relationship between humans and nature, was selected as a finalist out of more than 3,300 contest submissions.

“EENG brings education and the environment to life for the 6- to 8-year-olds we teach,” King said. “Winning this contest would allow us to accelerate our goal of statewide expansion, reach more kids and lay the foundation for a brighter future for us all.”

The prize will be awarded to the finalist that accumulates the most Facebook votes between now and May 1. Facebook users can vote once per day by clicking here during the weeklong voting period.

Since its founding in August 2009, EENG has expanded from a single classroom in Isla Vista to 24 classrooms in 12 schools spanning from Goleta to Carpinteria. The group now engages more than 700 first- and second-grade students each year, and shows no sign of slowing down.

“The youth holds more power now than ever before,” King said. “When children are informed and speak passionately about the issues they care about, people listen.”

— Sarah Kelly is a marketing and public relations intern for Environmental Education for the Next Generation.

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