Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) for the Environment is an environmental leadership program for middle and high school students. TRY is a teen-led environmental education program that teaches environmental literacy and responsibility to younger Vermont youth. TRY’s five program areas consist of six one-hour, elementary-aged lessons that are fun, hands-on, and taught by middle and high school students! Topics include: energy fundamentals, waste solutions, forest stewardship, water, and food systems.
TRY invites young people to become change agents by working together to puzzle out solutions to real-world environmental problems. TRY gives teens the opportunity to practice and improve their transferable skills by working as a group on important issues and sharing their knowledge with elementary students.
Through interactive lessons that raise awareness about important environmental issues, TRY teens make a difference in the lives of elementary school students. UVM Extension 4-H and program partners intentionally designed the TRY programs to inspire the future generation of Vermonters to be socially responsible environmental stewards. TRY programs strengthen critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, and improve environmental literacy and sense of responsibility across grades K-12.
TRY should be chosen as a finalist so that this award-winning program can continue to grow environmental leaders and environmentally aware citizens.
The funds would be used to continue the TRY for the Environment program. Since its inception in 2013 this program has reached 4,362 K-4 students who were taught by 553 middle and high school teen teachers. Assessments of the youth show an increase in knowledge and awareness of critical environmental issues facing Vermont, our nation, and the world.
The TRY program is free to all who participate. Funds are used to train the teens in their program area (five different one-day trainings) as well as provide teaching materials for 40 students, a TRY t-shirt, and teaching binder.
We know that youth are looking for ways to make a difference and take action on issues that matter to them. The environment is an area that they want to take action, and the TRY program helps them do it in a way that also builds their skills as environmental leaders in the process.