High schoolers learn environmental activism opportunities


Lexi Grieder

Local high school students listen to keynote speaker Gerardo Martinez at the first annual Anne Arundel Youth Environmental Action Summit, where they learned how to become involved in climate activism.

Zack Buster, Editor-in-Chief

More than 70 high school students met with activists and organizations to discuss environmental action at a climate summit in the Health and Life Sciences building on Saturday.

Second-year nursing student Vanessa Cardozo, who coordinated the first annual Anne Arundel Youth Environmental Action Summit, said it was a way to get local high schoolers engaged in climate activism.

“It is never too early for people to take on their own journey in helping out the environment,” Cardozo said. “This was a great way to network with professionals as well as other students to find new opportunities to grow and expand their skills.”

Climate activism can include activities like cleaning up beaches along the Chesapeake Bay or protesting legislation that could negatively affect the environment. 

At the summit, high school students heard a keynote presentation from activist Gerardo Martinez, owner of the sustainable Wild Kid Acres farm. Attendees also participated in climate-action panels and learned about career opportunities in environmental science.

Caroline Hall, president of Broadneck High School’s Eco Action club, said it was “really interesting” to learn about new ways to help the environment through her activism, encouraging other students to “give it a try.”

Broadneck High School sophomore Maggie Mullin said the summit inspired her to get involved in environmental work, saying she intends to intern at a maritime museum this summer.

“Hearing from people my own age and what they’ve been doing … makes it seem like I can do something similar,” Mullin said.

The summit was sponsored by local organizations and nonprofits, including: Spa Creek Conservancy in Annapolis, Chesapeake Family Life Magazine, the Women in STEM Fund and Biohabitats.

Attendees snacked on what Environmental Center Director Tammy Domanski called “compostable” and “sustainable” lunches from AACC Dining Services, which created low amounts of recyclable waste.