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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Back to School: Local Youth Climate Program Expands Nationwide

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

PG County Schools to Begin as NEW Chapter

Program quadruples in size to include 18 chapters across the country, including Maryland, Alabama and Metropolitan Washington, DC

Woodstock MD, August 9, 2023- The Youth Climate Institute (YCI), a program of the Howard County Conservancy, announced their innovative youth certification program has expanded to include 18 chapters in areas ranging from Maryland to metropolitan DC and Alabama. This growth reflects the incredible engagement and interest of young people on the climate crisis and the effectiveness of YCI’s chapter-based model. In Prince George’s County, several schools will be participating including PG County online, Frederick Douglas HS, Eleanor Roosevelt HS and Fairmont Heights HS as they become “official” new chapters this fall when students will begin the certification program. For more information, visit Youth Climate Institute | (

The Youth Climate Institute is a pioneering program for 10th and 11th graders that provides foundational climate education and engages students in meaningful community action projects. Upon completion of the program, students become YCI Certified Ambassadors©. Students can opt to continue with a capstone project to earn YCI Certified Ambassador with Honors©.

At a pivotal time for their college and career goals, YCI supports students and provides important recognition of their achievements, including certification, digital badges and compostable graduation cords to wear with their cap and gown. “Many people are familiar with recognitions that come with honor societies, scouting and varsity sports, but environmental achievements are largely unrecognized. The Youth Climate Institute is changing this,” said Jessica Kohout, YCI Manager.

“Climate change is the biggest threat affecting all of our futures, and YCI students are the advocates and stewards our planet so desperately needs,” said Meg Boyd, Executive Director. She continued, “Our chapter model provides students, teachers and community leaders with all the tools they need to be a force for change in their own communities.”

To become a certified ambassador, students learn the fundamentals of climate science and positive solutions. Students also join action teams led by professionals in climate science fields focusing on topics such as legislation, food waste, energy, tree planning and communication. For more information on the Youth Climate Institute or to start your own chapter, visit Youth Climate Institute | (

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