Mary Brill Youth Excellence Award


Mary Brill Youth Excellence

This category recognizes an individual or group of individuals in grades kindergarten through 12 who have made significant efforts on a project or campaign to promote peer education, engagement and behavior change in transportation, land use or air quality.

Selection Criteria

  • Engagement and education of peers in land use, transportation, or air quality;
  • Program or campaign that educates or encourages peers to become active in land use, transportation, or air quality or supports behavior change; and
  • Longevity of program and ability for other youth in the region to participate or replicate.

The Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program

SLEWS is a program of the Center for Land-Based Learning, whose mission is to create the next generation of farmers. The program has a direct positive impact on watersheds in the region, in the last 15 years, the SLEWS Program has trained over 6,000 students who have completed 204 projects, planted 65,000 native trees, shrubs and forbs, installed 123 irrigation systems, and built and installed 700 bird and bee nesting boxes.

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Mary Brill Youth Excellence Award

Girl Scout Troop 4240

Girl Scout Troop 4240 worked with the Feather River Air Quality Management District to learn about the “School Flag Program” for air quality awareness. The Troop then made presentations to their school principal, teachers and student council to gain support and approval to implement the Schools Flag Program. Each day a member of the Troop raises a colored flag that corresponds with the day’s air quality. The Troop has implemented a plan for the continuation of the program for the 2014–15 school year when the last member of Troop 4240 graduates. 

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Mary Brill Youth Excellence Award

Jeremy Gray
The Met Bicycle Collective

Jeremy Gray is the co-founder of The Met Bicycle Collective, housed at Met Sacramento High School. The Collective was started to encourage students to begin cycling for transportation and offers on-campus maintenance and safety education to cyclists of all levels. Established through fundraising efforts by the students, the program was designed to be flexible, allowing for changes driven by new ideas brought in as students transition in and out of high school. 

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Mary Brill Youth Excellence

Sacramento Youth Council for Sustainable Communities

The Sacramento Youth Council for Sustainable Communities is comprised of young people focused on promoting healthy and equitable land use, transportation and food systems and ensuring that youth voice and action are the norm of planning and policy decisions. The students have collaborated on design of complete streets at two Sacramento high schools, canvassed neighborhoods regarding the siting of a fast food restaurant, worked on community garden initiatives, and are working on a pilot program to test a cargo bike to deliver CSA boxes to low-income neighborhoods.

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Mary Brill Youth Excellence

Delta High School Agricultural Department and Future Farmers of America

The Agricultural Department offers a variety of courses to support four agricultural career paths: Animal Science, Plant Science, Agricultural Mechanics, and Agricultural Construction. Through grant funds, the agricultural department recently expanded their facilities to include a floriculture laboratory, meat science preparation/packing area, a large livestock facility, teaching laboratory area, an expanded welding laboratory with new equipment, and a greenhouse for production and research. 

SACOG Salutes! Award Winner Mary Brill Youth Excellence

GEO Academy at Grant Union High School

Established four years ago in partnership with the Health Education Council, the GEO Academy engages high school students with real-world projects that foster community, critical thinking, and appreciation of the environment and natural resources.

The curriculum offers outdoor learning and hands-on experiences. Their best-known project, a branded salsa sold at farmer’s markets and in gourmet grocery stores, provides agricultural production, processing, and business experience. In a testament to its relevance, the GEO Academy has a 100 percent graduation rate.