Reflecting on the 2017 Youth Climate Action Summit

My name is Pechmunnie Keo and I go to Evergreen High School, but I’m currently a Running Start student at South Seattle College. I’m also a part of Discovery Corps at the Pacific Science Center and am on the SYCAN Youth Leadership Committee (YLC).

The Icebreaker Team: Pechmunnie, Cassie, and Hermela

As part of the YLC, I work with teens all around Seattle to plan a smooth-running Youth Climate Action Summit at Woodland Park Zoo. Everyone on the committee was all open-minded and easy to talk to. In addition to working as a big group, the YLC was also split into smaller groups; I was on the team that planned the icebreakers with two others, Hermela and Cassie. In the small group, we all contributed and communicated extremely well with each other and made sure everyone’s ideas were heard. The big group of YLC members met at least two times each month in order to talk about our next steps to spread awareness on climate change. Once it got closer to the Summit, we met up at least once a week to make sure each group was prepared.

The SYCAN Youth Leadership Committee with the group art project

At the Summit, many students from all around Seattle gathered at Woodland Park Zoo on Saturday the 28th of October to talk about climate change. The Summit started off with a rock paper scissor line tournament, which went well. After the tournament, we soon moved onto what we’ll be doing for the day. This introduction was presented by Aji and Maddie. After the introduction, we had sessions that included talking about the Duwamish River, how to write a grant, and more. Each course was well put together with hands-on activities that engaged the audience. We also had a keynote speaker named Rayan Krishnan, a junior at Tesla STEM High School who is connected with Schools Under 2C. He explained what Schools Under 2C does and that he would stay after school to sort through trash, often finding uneaten items. Not only did we have Rayan as one of our guest speakers, but Governor Inslee as well. He spoke to us about addressing climate change and steps we can take to achieve our goals. We also had a group art activity in which we drew or wrote what gives us hope on pieces of a picture of the world, and an Action Fair in which community organizations talked to us about how we can get involved in climate action.

Governor Inslee with the SYCAN Youth Climate Action Summit participants

The Summit went even more smoothly than the whole YLC thought it would, which we’re extremely grateful for.

Want more info on what we did and who we met? Check out the agenda, workshop sessions and presenter bios here! 

Reflecting on the SYCAN Summer Experience

Earlier this month, we wrapped up a fantastic first year of the SYCAN Summer Experience! During this program, local teens learned about climate change impacts on the environment, the economy and people, met climate professionals around Seattle and presented climate communication projects at the zoo.

It was so fulfilling to see the engagement and growth our participants showed over the four weeks. The teens realize the urgency of climate action and grew so much in their ability to articulate causes and effects of and solutions to climate change. Today’s youth will play an essential role in fighting climate change, and I am confident our participants will be capable leaders in this fight. I can’t wait to hear how they spur action at their schools and in their communities!

Cheers to all involved in this year’s program! Check out Woodland Park Zoo’s new blog post with more reflections from our participants and staff!

By Chika Acholonu

Chika began working at Woodland Park Zoo in June 2017 and led the development of the schedule of readings, journal prompts, icebreakers and team activities for the SYCAN Summer Experience. Along with three Seattle Youth Employment Program interns and two other SYCAN staff, Chika also mentored the Summer Experience participants on their culminating projects. He is now working with the SYCAN Youth Leadership Committee to plan this year’s Summit.

Check out the SYCAN Summer Experience!

Want to take climate action this summer? Please join us for the SYCAN Summer Experience!

  • Who should apply: Teens in high school interested in the greater Seattle / King County area
  • When: July 17th through August 10th (Monday through Thursday) from 10 am to 4 pm each day
  • Where: Woodland Park Zoo and locations around the city
  • What will we do:
    • Learn about climate change and how it affects people, wildlife and the environment
    • Meet climate professionals and advocates
    • Work on a climate communication project for the zoo
  • Why you should sign up:
    • $400 stipend
    • Lunch provided every day
    • An Orca card for getting around the city
    • The opportunity to present about your climate communication project at the Youth Climate Action Summit in October
  • Apply here:
  • Spread the word: Share this flyer with interested friends and your school’s Green Team!

Sign up today for the Climate Action Workshop on Saturday, May 6th!

Please join Seattle Youth Climate Action Network on Saturday, May 6th for a Climate Action Workshop at Woodland Park Zoo:

  • Who should sign up: Teams (youth 14-18) from a program, club, or school, or individuals interested in joining an action team
  • When and where: Saturday, May 6th from 12:00 – 4:30 pm at Woodland Park Zoo (pizza lunch will be served!)
  • What will we do:
    • Explore climate change impacts and local issues
    • Learn about opportunities for action and local resources
    • Plan a climate action project for your team
    • Teams will be invited to present about their action project at the Youth Climate Action Summit in October
    • The leader of each team will be invited to join Seattle Youth CAN’s Youth Leadership Committee to serve as a point person for their team in the planning of the Summit
  • Register here:
  • Spread the word: Share this flyer with interested friends and your school’s Green Team!

Lead Your School in Taking Climate Action!

Last year, our world finally came together to sign the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement to prevent average global temperatures from rising above 2°C in comparison to pre-industrial levels. Unfortunately, our new administration has threatened to withdraw from this treaty – missing one of our last chances to mitigate the effects of global warming before it is too late.

In response, students at my school and I have taken action. We launched an organization, Schools Under 2C. Regardless of whether or not our country decides to follow through with the Paris Accord, we have lead our school to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to those stated by the treaty. Through simple educational programs, we have been igniting behavioral changes, and reduced our carbon footprint by over 1.5 tons each month.

We have implemented composting and lighting reduction programs, and partnered with our city to develop a mobile application offering incentives to encourage students to take more “green” transportation options.

The mission of our organization is not only to ignite a compliance campaign, but an educational movement. We have set a precedent for the rest of our community, and we are challenging other schools around the nation to reduce their carbon footprint. This network of passionate students from around the nation proves that kids care about climate change. Climate change is not impossible to fight. We already have the technology to do so – we just need to take action.

Visit our website,, to learn more. Join our movement by signing a pledge under the “join us” tab to reduce your school/community’s carbon footprint. After signing a pledge, you will be sent a Launch Kit, complete with tools and guides on how to get started in your community.

Together, we can empower the next generation to take climate action – one degree at a time.


This post was written by Anne Lee a new Seattle Youth CAN Member. Thanks Anne! 

Anne Lee is a junior at Tesla STEM High School. In second grade, her teacher played a video explaining how polar bears drowned due to rising sea levels because they couldn’t swim from one chunk of ice to the next. As a little second grader who adored any kind of furry creature, she was heartbroken. She pledged from that day on to do whatever she can to fight climate change – whether that means starting environmental movements, or researching solutions to environmental issues. 

Also, here are some links to recent press releases about the project by the Huffington Post and KPNX:



Fighting climate change one tree at a time

On February 11th, Seattle Youth CAN teamed up with Forterra, Green Seattle Partnership and Friends of the Burke Gilman to plant trees, pick up trash, and remove invasive species from a section of the Burke Gilman Trail. Of the 85 trees planted, 34 trees were purchased by Woodland Park Zoo as part of Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program. The 85 trees planted will sequester 425 tons of carbon over their lifetime.

Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program helps companies, organizations and individuals address the threats of global climate change by planting trees in the Puget Sound region. It began as a partnership with Pearl Jam, who wanted to take responsibility for their carbon emissions produced from their world tour by planting trees in their local community! Since then, the program has grown to include dozens of companies and individuals.

We asked participant Daniela Shuman to share her thoughts on the event:

The Burke-Gilman trail through North Seattle required our help. The area was full of trash, covered in the invasive black berry bushes, and missing trees. It’s a good thing Seattle Youth CAN were up for the job!

When we arrived, we went straight to the job, planting western red cedar, Douglas fir and grand fir. To ensure their best chance at surviving, we were taught how to effectively plant a tree. One important part was adding mulch around the newly planted tree to keep the moisture inside. After the hillside was covered in tiny trees, we were to go through and find any extra trash. It was sad to find so much, but we cleaned up the park well and ended up with bags of small pieces of plastic. Finishing up, we got rid of the invasive blackberry bushes. It was hard, but we eventually cleaned out a large area and freed a few trees that were wrapped in blackberry vines. Our motto was Free the Tree 2017! We were tired from the morning of work, but it was loads of fun to do with friends!

The importance to all this work was to restore part of the Seattle Area ecosystem. The hillside needed tree roots to avoid collapse and the stream needed shade to keep it cool for the living organisms inside. This event has made a lasting impact on our community ecosystem and I am proud to say I was part of it!


By Daniela Shuman

Addressing Climate Change from Multiple Perspectives

This past Tuesday, the UW hosted Global Challenges—Interdisciplinary Answers on Climate Change.

Here are some reflections on the event from Kathryn Fry, ZooCorps volunteer and Seattle Youth CAN leader:

Attending this event allowed me to reflect on my value judgments that I hold in regard to the topic of climate change. The interdisciplinary setting personally helped me understand how broad the topic of climate change is and how it isn’t just scientists who we should be looking to, but more so people of all backgrounds.  Overall the panel was very interesting and posed a lot of hard questions like “who gets to decide what matters”‘ and “how can we change the narrative?”.


Fun at the Youth Climate Action Summit


Two Sundays ago, on October 2nd, Seattle Youth CAN hosted our second annual Youth Climate Action Summit at Woodland Park Zoo. With over a hundred people registered the event was bigger then ever!  The morning started out with an inspirational introduction and performance from keynote speaker, Aji Piper. Followed by workshops, an art filled lunch, community groups tabling at an action fair, and sustainability tours the summit was full of endless fun things to see and do.   This year the summit went an hour longer and included many different things in its line up. A favorite of mine was the sustainability tours. I attended the Zoo Doo tour and got to meet Dr. Doo and his piles of compost. With interesting facts about how all that Zoo Doo gets made over the year it was a full ride of laughs and learning.

The summit while only in its second year has consistently proven to be a fun way to get teens motivated to make change in their communities and become more passionate about the climate and how it affects the world around them.

By Katherine Fry


About the author: Katherine has been on the summit planning committee the past 2 years, and is a ZooCorps volunteer/intern and senior at Chief Sealth International High School 



Reflections on the Transportation Challenge


Transportation is critical to each and every one of our lives. We have built our society in such a way that we expect people to get to places on time. With oncoming meetings in different places and other obligatory places to be, sometimes we don’t have the power to choose where to go. What we often forget, however, is that we do have the power to choose how we get there.

And that was the case in my life. The car used to be the only mode of transportation that I used or cared about. The thought of walking, biking, or busing never made it into me. I would reach for the car door handle before even realizing the consequences of my trip.

This is how SYCAN has transformed my life. I now bus, carpool, or walk everywhere I go. This transition was rough at first, so here are the steps that it took me to get there:
Start considering the idea that there are other modes of transportation besides the car. This step is the hardest, because it is so easy to always just take the car.
Gather a network of people who live near you. This will help especially when you need to find carpools.

Identify where the bus stops near you are. Often times they are closer than you think. If not, there are many videos on the internet about how to use bike racks!
Find convenient stores that are within walking and biking range.

These steps take less time than you would think and after completing them, it feels a lot better to know that taking personal action to have a positive impact on the environment is possible.

The Microsoft Interns have made a team that has dedicated itself to the transportation challenge that just wrapped up. For some, the bus has already been a part of their daily schedule, and the transportation challenge has been a seamless experience. However, for many others, it has been extremely hard step.

These steps above have helped me and members of the team through this challenge, and it has helped us win week five and six with the most total miles not driven alone!

Remember this: you no longer need a cape or a superhero mask to change the world. You just need a bus pass.

By Masayuki Nagase

Why “BUS IT?”

This week, you’ve been challenged by Seattle Youth CAN to post your busing adventures to #Bus4Me , but you may still be wondering why you should bus it this week. That’s why we at SYCAN has compiled the top 5 reasons to drop everything and get on a bus ASAP: (drumroll please…)

Why Bus It

1. You can sing The Wheels on the Bus song! Sometimes you just need to release your inner preschooler and although anytime is a good time to break out in song, being in a bus creates an ambiance that’ll give your performance that extra oomph.

2. Seattle Metro buses have either 46 or 57 seats; that means that when completely full, the smallest type of bus saves about 98% of the carbon emissions that would have been given off if all those people drove alone. That’s why busing massively shrinks your carbon footprint (and haven’t you always wished you could fit into those wicked light-up baby shoes?).

3. Being on a bus lets you be a Sneaky Spy. Isn’t awkward when you’re trying to take pictures of someone’s really cute pupper and their owner thinks you’re some creepy stalker? It’s okay to admit you have a dog-stalking problem, we do too, and acceptance is the first step to recovery. But why recover when you can just dog-stalk SNEAKILY? Lucky for you, buses have tinted windows! Plus, you don’t have to pull over to take out your phone.

4. Remember when your college counselor told you to do something for the community so you sprayed your brother with Febreze? Good effort, but we’re guessing that did more harm than good, right? Next time, try riding the bus instead! Busing ACTUALLY benefits the community and has a much smaller probability of ending with you grounded in a room that reeks of Fresh Twist Cranberry spray. The positive repercussions of busing are endless: it keep our cityscape smog-free, aides in weather-pattern regulation and protect the lifeways of local critters.

5. Last, but not least, busing lets you be a trend-setter! If the Pussycat Dolls’ “Famous” taught us anything, it’s that if you want people to talk about you, you have to set some trends. Based on what you’ve learned about busing, what could be better than a busing trend? Take artsy bus selfies, dig into the existential angst that a bus must feel on a daily and rope a few friends into busing downtown for Frappuccinos; congratulations- you’re well on your way to becoming a bus hipster!

So what are you doing still reading this? Go catch a bus! (And don’t forget to share your busing adventures to #Bus4Me to be entered to win some sick prizes)