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“Being a member of Sustainability Ambassadors provides me an outlet where I am able to effectively share and collaborate on making a difference in real time. I am learning how to communicate to our local decision makers, which is crucial to any teenager.” 

- McKenzie Toomey

Water Use and Natural Systems

Food Systems 

Zero Waste 

Energy Systems 

Transportation Systems 

Civic Engagement 

What is a signature project



We create and champion of a set of unique programs, projects and events that meet these three criteria: 


  1.  Easiest actions over a 12-month rhythm.

  2. Engages the greatest number and diversity of people.

  3. Generates the greatest measurable impact.

Climate Action Plan



Youth must lead our nation and the world. Fast.

Ambassadors lead by example starting with our own carbon and water footprint analysis and family action plans. From this foundation, we are developing campaigns for educating and empowering King County middle and high school students to rapidly advance climate actions in our homes, schools and cities. 

We are developing impact projects that align with and advocate for much stronger city climate action plans to meet commitments made in the King County Cities Climate Collaborative, advance the King County Climate Action Plan

Student Ambassadors will facilitate this work by leading peer-to-peer training in the 4P Syllabus of policy analysis, performance assessment, project management, and public speaking. Teachers Fellows will develop problem-based learning opportunities on climate justice, climate science, engineering, policy, and economics. Climate Action Coaches will advise, challenge, and connect students and teachers to strategic community actions, context, and important technical and tactical background.    

Outcome: A measurable decrease in the total GHG emissions in our own families, schools and city by city cooperative competition.

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Solar Neighborhood Challenge



Solarize everything. Teach it. Push the right policies.

Sustainability Ambassadors, in partnership with Sphere Solar Energy is leading a neighbor-to neighbor campaign to add solar panels to homes. Sphere Solar Energy will provide 5% off every home that goes solar as coordinated by Sustainability Ambassadors, with an additional 5% off the purchase of solar panels made in Washington State. For every 30 homes that go solar, Sphere Solar Energy will donate a solar project to a community in the developing world. 


Results locally and globally will be tracked and reported across King County cities in alignment with the King County Cities Climate Collaborative. Student Ambassadors and Sphere Solar will participate along with teachers in regular Problem-Based Curriculum Design Labs to enhance the relationship between academic rigor and community relevance through solar engineering, science, civics, economics, and global issues. 

Outcome: A measurable decrease in the total GHG emissions through solar kWhs, with neighborhoods competing for the common good.

Low Carbon Communiting to school



Transportation contributes 40-50% of our city’s carbon footprint. Let’s go.

It is critical that we lead on transportation. Sustainability Ambassadors, in partnership with the city of Kirkland, Washington, is developing a series of campaigns to reduce the total carbon footprint of students commuting to and from each school through encouraging low carbon or no carbon transportation choices. 

These campaigns will include walking, biking, better bike route planning, apps to support more connections among families for carpooling, more frequent bus routes, free bus passes for students, more electric vehicle purchases and charging infrastructure for cars, new city EV fleets, and new electric school buses.  

We are aligning our work with the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Plan, the Safe Routes to School Plan, and the Climate Action Plan of our city government.. As our model is refined, we will advocate for its adoption at other schools across the district, other cities, and across King County. 


Outcome: A measurable decrease in the total GHG emissions from commuting to school with schools and school districts competing to cooperate for the common good.

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Green Jobs Youth Pathways



To drive the green economy, we need a workforce river, not a pipeline, and certainly not a leaky sprinkler.

Five Ambassadors participating in an Internship with the Port of Seattle, including Zach, Nazli, Deveshi, Sofia, and Hoda have created an initial set of resources to inform youth in King County about green jobs pathways and to support greater diversity in our local workforce.  These resources include a database of green jobs and career paths, a career center for resumes, cover letters, and interview tips specifically tailored to green jobs. We have established a database of pre-professional opportunities including information about internships, youth development programs, and entry-level jobs that can provide improving skills and experiences that led to careers in the green jobs economy.

Outcome: Students will have access to a wider range of local job opportunities. Institutions will be able to hire from a wider, more diverse, better trained pool.

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Town Hal @ School



Participatory Democracy meets Sustainable Systems Planning.

Town Hall @ School - Sustainable City Planning Series is an annual practicum in high school civics education and systems thinking with a problem-based call to action. 


The purpose of Town Hall @ School is to empower students with the knowledge and skills to meet academic standards in context of improving sustainable community conditions.


The practicum takes place over three to five weeks including: (1) an initial inquiry, (2) a Town Hall event with city and county staff, policymakers and community champions, and (3) student-led impact projects.  

Outcome: Student impact projects measurably improve sustainable community conditions as measured against city and county policies, plans, and performance measures.

Project Design Training



Capacity building for more youth engaged in more projects that matter.

Every fall, student Ambassadors provide training for their peers in building Green Team capacity, designing effective impact projects, and engaging the Student Council, PTSA, Athletic Department, and other clubs in the following shared goals: 


1. Connect and expand student-led sustainability efforts in our city and our school district.


2. Build leadership skills in project management, team facilitation, and public speaking for college and career readiness.


3. Apply leadership skills to develop projects that make a measurable difference. Know how to track data, align with district and city goals, and be ready to report on progress at the Spring Community Sustainability Summit. 


4. Strive for Level Four with the King County Green Schools Program, or all five levels of the Washington Green Schools Program.

Outcome: Bigger and better student-led impact projects measurably improve sustainable conditions at school and in the community.

Community Susainability Summit



Reporting what's working across generations, jurisdictions, and community sectors.

Each spring, sustainability leaders from across generations convene to do two things: (1) report data-driven results from the previous year and (2) establish a 12-month Collective Impact Strategy for the upcoming year.


The purpose is to measurably improve sustainable community conditions while strengthening local connections for collective impact across generations, jurisdictions, and community sectors. This coalition includes student leaders, teacher leaders, parent leaders, school administrators, sustainability professionals, resource conservation managers, city and county government, local agencies and utilities, businesses, nonprofits, and other community-based organizations.

The Community Sustainability Summit is based on four principles.

  1. Intergenerational dialogue inspires hope for a more sustainable future.  

  2. Interjurisdictional, cross-sector learning builds collective impact. 

  3. Data-driven reporting measures progress over the last 12 months and points to collective action for the next 12 months. 

  4. Shared performance management tools build collective capacity and facilitate communication.

Outcome: Strong community learning relationships lead to measurable improvements in sustainable conditions across the community.

Public Speaking Workout



Speak up. Speak out. Speak with Style.

We facilitate fast and physical public speaking workouts, each season of the year, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Each Workout is hosted in a new inspiring venue with a new sustainable systems theme. At the workouts students deepen their understanding of local sustainability issues, practice systems thinking, and find the power in their voice.


Participants receive lots of peer-to-peer coaching from student Sustainability Ambassadors to expand their knowledge and improve their vocal technique. The workshops are designed with different tracks to support skill development for both new and returning participants. 


Why you should attend...

  1. Learn the techniques of great public speaking.

  2. Increase your confidence by finding the power in your voice.

  3. Improve your sustainable systems thinking skills.

  4. Know the solutions to a more sustainable future.

  5. Persuade peers, teachers & community stakeholders to join the effort.

Outcome: More students speaking up more often with knowledge and skill. Stakeholders and decision makers begin to listen.

2050 Workout


In collaboration with UW College of Built Environments


How do we get to 100% Sustainability in our Communities?

The 2050 Workout is an exhilarating, exhausting, inspiring, 12-Hour "Thought Experiment."

Every year, in August, at the UW College of Built Environments, we convene 100 highly capable student leaders in middle and high school from around the region. Together, we apply systems thinking to “forecast” a 100% sustainable community in the year 2050 and then "backcast" to establish practical action plans for home, school and our cities to jump start the new school year. 


We work in sustainable systems teams all day with expert input from adult sustainable coaches, then convene in a massive lecture hall in the UW School of Architecture, where parents, sponsors, coaches, and the public join us for our reports from 2050. The event includes giant map making for urban planning, a spoken word performance, and everyone’s favorite, the Great Disruption Debate. . 


In the year 2050 today’s teenagers will have children of their own in high school. What will our communities look like if we are completely sustainable by then? 

Outcome: Participants and audience members see the future. And it is good. Everyone leaves with a clear Impact Project to either join or initiate.

ASB Sustainabiliy Strategy



Engage ASB, create sustainability policies, build a culture of sustainability.

As the Associated Student Body government, ASB has a responsibility to be informed about sustainability issues and to lead on sustainable practices. We support the development of mutually reinforcing relationships between middle school and high school ASB, PTSA, Green Teams, City Youth Councils, and other clubs by establishing policies on sustainability, setting annual goals, developing impact projects with measurable outcomes, and communicating results to all stakeholders. 


For the ASB to lead on sustainability issues and share best practices, we need to develop cross-training opportunities such as the fall, Sustainable Project Design Training - Kick-Off, the Spring Community Sustainability Summit, the annual Positive Trends Update, and ASB Leadership Retreats. We need tools, timelines, and venues for gathering and communicating measurable advances toward a more sustainable future. 


Outcome: ASB policies and practices are in place for all clubs and activities and demonstrate impact on an annual basis. The most successful models are shared school by school and district by district across King County.

PTSA Sustainabilty Strategy



Engage PTSA, create sustainability policies, build a culture of sustainability.

As the Parent, Teacher, Student Association embedded in each school, the PTSA has a responsibility to be informed about sustainability issues and to lead on sustainable practices. We are working with PTSA leaders, especially in the Lake Washington School District, to develop mutually beneficial relationships between the Sustainability Ambassadors student leadership team, PTSA, ASB, Green Teams, and other clubs and classrooms, by establishing sustainability policies, setting annual goals, developing impact projects with measurable outcomes, and by communicating results and recommendations to all stakeholders, including the student body, faculty, administration, parents, and community. 


The PTSA can play an important role in leading by example, setting policy guidelines, and informing and inspiring other parents and families. For the PTSA to lead on sustainability issues and share best practices, we need to develop tools, timelines, and venues for gathering and communicating measurable advances toward a more sustainable future. 


Outcome: PTSA policies and practices are in place and demonstrating impact on an annual basis. The most successful models are shared school by school and district by district across King County, and the State of Washington.

Green Sports Alliance


Sports, but make it sustainable.

Modeled after the national Green Sports Alliance designed for professional & collegiate sports facilities & programs, we are developing a high school level competition to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live & play through 7 goals developed for the professional & collegiate chapters, related to energy, food, procurement, transportation, venue, waste, & water. 


  1. Energy: Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for energy through the promotion of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency initiatives, and energy conservation practices.

  2. Food: Reducing the environmental impacts associated with food served at sports venues and events by promoting healthier, more sustainable food programs, and food service practices that promote waste reduction, and energy and water efficiency.

  3. Procurement: Promoting purchasing policies that make use of ecologically preferable products, including paper, cleaning products, and service ware.

  4. Transportation: Encouraging a shift away from fossil fuel-dependent transportation by incorporating smarter travel strategies at sports venues and events, including public transit, bike racks, and pedestrian walkways.

  5. Venue: Advancing sustainable, high-performance design and operations of sports venues that promote environmental and human health for staff, athletes, and fans.

  6. Waste: Promoting zero waste strategies through source reduction, recycling, composting, and food recovery.

  7. Water: Advancing water security by encouraging practices that reduce water pollution and promote water conservation.

Outcome: At least 3 pilot high schools develop & share projects around at least 1 goal area & compete for the Greenest Sports Program.

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