World Youth Skills Day 

Creating Green Pathways for Youth

Seattle-based nonprofit EarthCorps believes that people have the power to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges – and by empowering a global network of young environmentalists, we can inspire a community of leaders equipped to tackle environmental and climate injustices. Since its foundation, EarthCorps’ Leadership and Environmental Training Program has provided the resources and networks for youth ages 18 to 26 to develop technical and strategic restoration plans for resilient habitats and communities across the globe. Recognizing the importance and value of fostering and instilling equitable opportunities for youth, EarthCorps expanded its programming to activate a network of partners dedicated to providing green pathways for youth in high school. In celebration of World Youth Skills Day on July 15, EarthCorps is amplifying the voices and actions of these young leaders who are developing and leading hands-on educational spaces that inspire action and ownership for a greener world. 

Student interns from Foster High School lead a volunteer event.

Piloting a new initiative within the Community & Volunteer Engagement Program, EarthCorps introduced the Spring Youth Engagement Internship for high school students enrolled at Tukwila’s Foster High School. Through the internship, students learn about conservation strategies through hands-on projects focused on enhancing and revitalizing green spaces in their local communities. During the seven week-long program, EarthCorps’ Specialist Team hosts weekly classroom and field sessions to explain the importance of preserving biodiversity, discuss the significance of native plant species, and share ecological practices for healthier habitats. 

Student interns at Foster High School attending a weekly in-class session and training.

After completing the internship, high school student Tattiana recognizes that building a healthier and more resilient environment requires more than technical skills. She shares: “Completing this internship has helped me to connect to nature. It has impacted me on how I’m going to interact with people and nature in the future. I realized I should take more care of the environment and how I feel about it. It’s good to take a moment and think.” 

Student interns teach volunteers from Thorndyke Elementary how to identify invasive English Ivy.

This year’s Spring Youth Engagement Internship Program ran from March 27 to May 17. After 20 hours of leadership and restoration training, interns shared their knowledge and skills by leading a volunteer event for over 60 fifth-grade students from Tukwila’s Thorndyke Elementary School. By fostering a hands-on learning environment and creating engaging green opportunities, intern Jada shares: “Kids look[ed] at nature in a more critical light. When they look[ed] around, they [could] do something about it and have a more active role in outdoor spaces.” 

Reflecting on the success of the pilot program, EarthCorps hopes to expand student internship opportunities to more high schools throughout the Puget Sound region. Currently, EarthCorps partners exclusively with Foster High School, working with approximately 50 students across three unique internship opportunities, which includes the Spring Youth Engagement Internship.

Student interns from Foster High School with members of EarthCorps’ Specialist Team.

As part of its commitment to transparency and equity, EarthCorps awards all student interns a stipend of $500. Alongside program and administrative fees, the average cost to host one student intern is $1000. In celebration of World Youth Skills Day on July 15, will you help us expand our impact by supporting our youth initiatives? Your gift will help us continue to cultivate equitable pathways and green opportunities for youth, ensuring our programs thrive and adapt to evolving challenges.