Maine Environmental Changemakers Network
The Maine Environmental Changemakers Network is a youth-led statewide intergenerational network that connects young Mainers from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about the environment with peer and professional mentors, training, and the resources needed to implement environmental action in their communities. At Changemakers youth and adults collaborate to create powerful learning opportunities to support the advancement of youth who are passionate about E-STEM, Environmental Education (EE) and sustainable social change. Together our work builds a hopeful community committed to mentorship, a venue for innovation, and the sharing of environmental ideas across difference.
The Maine Environment Changemakers Network impressed the judging panel with their inclusive networking practices, youth leadership, and youth-created programs. Using different forms of social networking to make trainings available to others, they engage with a wide range of communities in ways that are relevant. Judges in particular called out the organization’s creative approach to mapping the resources and connections available in their state. Leveraging the connections they have established, they are creating opportunities for those who may not otherwise have access. Judges appreciated how the Network brings together different age groups, with youth in leadership roles and adults serving as allies helping young people realize their goals. This approach respects young people’s critical contributions in the E-STEM space, and at the same time creates powerful intergenerational relationships. The result is a tremendous value-add to their work. Judges were equally impressed by the Maine Environmental Changemakers Network’s investment in diversifying the E-STEM workforce. Through paid internships and prioritizing representation of young people of color and low-income youth, the Network is exemplary in their efforts to change dominant narratives around the culture of E-STEM. Overall, judges pointed to Maine Environmental Changemakers Network as exemplary for its social and resource network approach to empowering young people to take the lead in E-STEM.