Youth Climate Institute Announces Expansion

Today the Youth Climate Institute (YCI) announced their innovative certification program for high school students has expanded to four states. This pioneering program provides foundational climate education and engages students in meaningful community action projects. Upon program completion, students become YCI Certified Ambassadors©. Students can opt to continue with a capstone project to earn YCI Certified Ambassador with Honors©.

YCI’s expanded reach now serves communities ranging from Alabama to Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. Our Ohio expansion includes a “hub” site, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, which will lead chapter onboarding in the Cleveland region. This hub, along with other new chapters, are part of a more than three-fold growth over the past two years.

“We are excited to lead the growth of the Youth Climate Institute in our region,” says Peter Bode, President and CEO of The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. “The mission of the Youth Climate Institute aligns with our vision to be recognized as a model urban environmental resource that welcomes all and enriches people’s lives through education, innovative programs and community involvement.”

“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 continues, “Our chapter model provides students, teachers and community leaders with all the tools they need to be a force for change in their communities.”

At a pivotal time for their college and career goals, YCI supports students and provides important recognitions 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 Boyd.

To become a certified ambassador, students learn the fundamentals of climate science, impacts and solutions. Other lessons may include topics like climate justice, energy and biodiversity. Students also take action in their communities by focusing on issues such as legislation, food waste, energy and tree planting.

About the Youth Climate Institute:

The Youth Climate Institute (YCI) empowers and educates the next generation of climate leaders about climate science, environmental justice, and real world solutions. It’s an extracurricular certification program that combines environmental education and hands-on community action to give students the tools to become effective stewards of their local environment and pursue green careers. Learn more about YCI at

About the Howard County Conservancy:

The mission of the Howard County Conservancy is to educate children and adults about our natural world, preserve the land and its legacy for future generations and model responsible stewardship of our environment. Dedicated to educating youth and adults about environmental stewardship and ecosystems, the Conservancy focuses its programs on local animal and plant life found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Conservancy has been educating Howard County youth since 1997, and has been an Educational Partner with the Howard County Public School System since 2003. Learn more about the Conservancy at