Director’s Message

On September 20th, 4 million people participated in the biggest climate strike in history. Protestors turned out in 156 countries, rallying behind the message that young people will be the ones to inherit a world irreversibly affected by climate change.

Momentum for the movement was garnered by youth activist Greta Thunberg. Activist group Sunrise Movement, comprised of young people up to the age of 25, also spearheaded the strike. Their protest demands include the enactment of a Green New Deal, a package of policy proposals that aims to address climate change and economic injustice, and the public declaration of a climate emergency by politicians.

In spite of our political climate, young people have elevated their voices to speak out on behalf of our environment. MarinSEL students were among those participating in the climate actions on September 20th. Students from each grade attended demonstrations in San Rafael and San Francisco, and the freshman students staged a walkout. Beckett Klock, a freshman, was even featured in the Marin Independent Journal.

In addition to activism, our freshmen students are engaging in LEAD projects that actively mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Our food waste group is working with a Climate Corps fellow to reduce methane emissions from organic waste in landfills by increasing diversion rates at Terra Linda High School. Another student group is working alongside Phil Alwitt from SolarCraft to convince residential units to go solar. Every day when your student shows up to class, they are fighting for a livable, just future.  

Resilience is the driving force behind several of our sophomore LEAD projects this semester. One student group is working alongside Douglas Mundo of Marin Multicultural Center to develop emergency preparedness strategies for the Canal, a neighborhood vulnerable to rising sea levels. Dr. Mark Stemen of Chico State is partnered with another student group to develop an extreme heat preparedness plan for San Rafael. These students will be submitting their plan for review by the city at the end of their project next spring. In the face of climate change, our students are using their MarinSEL toolkits to contribute to adaptation efforts that will keep our community thriving.  

The youth leaders in MarinSEL will shape the future with their passionate voices, tenacious drive, and commitment to making the world a better place. As Director, I am proud to see this spirit of resiliency in our program, and I am eager to see what our students are capable of.

Best Regards,

Cyane Dandridge 

P.S. Want to write for the MarinSEL Newsletter next year? Sign up here to write short articles for our quarterly news!

Personal Profile: Adam Hicks

MarinSEL is excited to welcome our new 9th grade English teacher

By Andrea Dunn

This year, we welcome Adam Hicks to the MarinSEL faculty family. Adam is teaching English at TL and has the honor of welcoming in the (large) freshman class of 34 students. It’s always nice to know a little bit about the people you count on to teach your children the finer things in life, like the merits of the comma, how to analyze literature for its deeper themes, and how to write like a pro! Read on below to see the answers to some questions we asked him.

Full name: Adam Parker Hicks

Is there any family info you would like to share with the MarinSel Community? 

Well, my wife and I  just had a baby girl on Aug. 14. Her name is Parisa Rose. We now have two kids, my daughter and our son, named Parker, who will be turning 3 on Oct. 11. Our furry child is a 13-year-old border collie named Cisco. Besides that, my wife and I got married in 2013 and have been together since 2008. 

What is your relationship with Marin County?

I am a Marin transplant by virtue of my wife. She grew up in San Rafael and graduated from Marin Catholic. While I spent two years at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and graduated from there in 2006, I never had any previous ties to Marin County outside of my wife. I grew up in a suburb of Seattle called Sammamish. I have also lived in Phoenix and San Diego. We live in Novato now and I think we’ll be here for the long run. 

What’s the reason you became a teacher?

I wanted to try and provide a positive experience for young kids. I enjoyed having so many positive, caring teachers throughout my life and I wanted to do my best to offer that to others. Knowing that the overall school experience can be challenging for some kids, I like to think that I can be some version of a positive force to help during that experience. 

What attracted you to the MarinSELprogram?

I like the practicality of the projects the kids are working on. I think the emphasis on facilitating useful applications of the knowledge they are gaining is very unique. 

What do you like to do in your offtime?

These days I’m mostly hanging out with my family. My son loves the Oakland Zoo, so we try to put our membership to use there. We go to places like Traintown in Sonoma, the Little Farm in the East Bay, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. When I get to break off on my own, I play in an adult recreational baseball league on Sundays. My skills have gradually eroded, but I enjoy the activity and competition. I also like tackling projects around the house if it’s something I can handle myself.

What’s one thing that your students do not know about you yet?

I don’t think many of them know that I played baseball in college. I played shortstop and third base for two years at Scottsdale Community College (Arizona) and then transferred to Saint Mary’s College, where I played my last two years. I was certainly not an amazing player, but it was a goal I always had for myself and something that I’m proud to say I got to accomplish. 

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I tend to be pretty introverted and prefer smaller groups, so I would be an animal that kind of does its own thing and doesn’t have to rely too heavily on a pack. I’m not sure exactly what that is, maybe a deer or something. I don’t know, I’m struggling to think outside the box on this one!  

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a high school student?

I like to emphasize the importance of taking advantage of opportunities to try new things, especially in social situations. I wish I had taken more risks when I was in school because I feel like it would have opened my mind up to the cool potential that lies in having a “yes” attitude. I think kids will find that there are so many chances to make great relationships if you give yourself a chance to try things and learn about yourself in the process.

Launching Fall 2019 LEAD Projects

By Sonali Dev

Marin School of Environmental Leadership is excited to announce the 2019 LEAD projects. Leadership And Environmental Action Development (LEAD) projects are conducted by 9th and 10th graders, in partnership with a community sponsor. 

Marin SEL freshmen are an energetic and passionate group that care about the environment but contemplating on how they could make a difference in solving the environment related issues. For freshmen, this is their first opportunity to make real change in our community on current issues. They are given a project in one of the environmental categories – Food, Energy, Natural Resources/Waste and Climate. Projects are due at the end of the semester. 

For  2019, the freshman will be working on the following projects. 

MarinSEL Garden  (Food)

Their goal is to create a long term strategy for the maintenance of the native and food gardens, organize garden work days, setup a platform for advertising and selling the produce to TLHS or farmers markets.
Partner: Dave and Carolyn from Anderson, (Monarch Gardens)

Solar and Podcasting ( Energy)

Their goal is to learn how solar energy is produced, cost effectiveness of solar for residential and commercial buildings. They will gain usage information through interviews, and present reports to convince households and commercial entities to adopt/ switch to using solar energy.
Partner: Phil Alwitt – (SolarCraft)

Microbeads ( Water / Natural Resources)

Their goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the toxins found in personal care products, produce educational materials on how to limit toxins and microbeads from entering into waterways and educate local schools about the impact on the Bay and how they can be a part of the solution.
Partner: Sahar Golshani (Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District)

Green Transportation and Art (Climate)

Their goal is to increase the number of students who bike to school through events, pledges, and reward programs. They will aim to address bike access at TL and increase engagement through a “pop-up” art project on campus about the environmental impact of the students transportation choices.
Partner: Renee Goddard (Safe Routes to Schools, Marin County)

Food Waste and Recovery (Waste)

Their goal is to conduct a food waste audit at a San Rafael City School, design an educational campaign informing students about food waste, develop food recovery strategies to reroute otherwise wasted edible food to emergency food aid outlets or composting facilities.
Partner: San Rafael City Schools Fellow– Climate Corps

Sophomores participate in longer, more challenging LEAD projects which span the entire school year. They are given a project in one of the environmental categories – Transportation, Climate, Energy and Waste. 

In the year 2019-2020,  the Sophomores will be working on the following projects

Transportation Planning For Marin County ( Transportation) 

Their goal is to understand the history of  Marin Transit, document legislative initiatives that have affected transportation and attend Marin Transit Board of Directors meeting to present their policy recommendations. 
Partner: Cody Lowe (Marin Transit)

Extreme Heat Planning ( Climate)

Their goal is to research health impacts of extreme heat and possible adaptations, produce an extreme heat vulnerability study and a preparedness plan, to present to San Rafael City Council
Partner: Dr. Mark Stemen ( CSU, Chico)

Green Buildings (Energy)

Their goal is to collect data on energy consumption at TLHS, analyze current and future energy policies at San Rafael City Schools, design an effective energy conservation campaign and energy policy recommendations for the District
Partner: Bill Savidge (Architect and San Rafael City Schools District Consultant on Bond Measure)

Waste Management And Landfill Diversion (Waste)

Their goal is to conduct school waste audits, design a recycling educational campaign, and develop a waste policy for the school district.
Partner: Casey Fritz (Marin Sanitary Service)

Climate Change And The Canal (Climate)

Their goal is to work with student groups in the Canal, develop public service announcements on flooding, sea level rise, and Tiscornia Marsh Project and work with the City to make sure the Canal community is heard when developing adaptation strategies
Partner: Douglas Mundo (Multicultural Center of Marin)

At the beginning of the school year, project choices are presented to the students. The students rank their top three choices, The students form groups of six or seven. The project begins with a research paper on the project topic.  All students work closely with a community partner along with their teachers and parent mentors as they hone their 4 C skills: Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity. LEAD projects are presented to the entire MSEL student body, parents and community partners.

Students Kick Off the 2019-2020 School Year with a Successful Leadership


Three days straight of leadership skill building and bonding activities led to another successful retreat! Our students participated in Myers Briggs workshops, meditation sessions, and teamwork-building challenge ropes courses at Westminster Woods. Thanks to all of the chaperones that made this retreat so incredible.

Juniors Participate in Marin Sustainable Enterprise Conference

On September 25th, our juniors volunteered at the annual Marin Sustainable Enterprise Conference hosted by VenturePad. The conference promotes sustainable business practices in the North Bay, provides tools for companies in transition, showcases best practices and best companies, and connects business and community leaders to work on creating more sustainable, resilient organizations and communities. The juniors sat in on solutions-based workshops and heard from successful industry professionals. Senior Charlotte Kamman of Swirl Jewelry presented to the audience about her business and the sustainable enterprise class.

MarinSEL on Social Media

Upcoming Events
MarinSEL Open House
Monday,October 28th from 7PM-8:30PM
Terra Linda High School
Tell your family friends with 8th graders!
Blind Wine Tasting
Saturday, November 9th from 7PM-9PM
Cyane and Ward’s
Register Here.
Email to donate wine

Sustainable Enterprise Surveys

Help our juniors out by completing surveys for their sustainable enterprise course!

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