“Empowering our youth may be the single most important strategy we can take to address the climate crisis. Harnessing the creativity, brain power and energy of students who live in our community means that they can
help craft solutions for their future in San Antonio.”

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg

The Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives provides a way for youth to actively engage in the civic process and invest in the future of their city as part of the City of San Antonio’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The mission of the Council is to empower San Antonio’s next generation of climate champions with the tools they need to become effective advocates in their community. The 2020–2021 Council is using their learnings to design a community-based project and present their work and outcomes to the larger community at the end of May of 2021. Expand the group projects below to learn more about the Council members and their community impact projects.

Project: Housing and Transportation

The Housing and Transportation team is piloting a multi-faceted bus stop improvement project in San Antonio. They will beautify public space by building a garden on top of the bus stop shelter which will increase habitat for local pollinators, act as a filter for groundwater, and cool temperatures under the bus stop roof. The group was inspired by bus stop gardens successfully implemented in other countries. The second part of their project is to retrofit bike and scooter charging stations to bus stops to increase awareness of and access to sustainable transportation in San Antonio.

Analisa W, 16

My name is Analisa W and I am in 11th grade at NESA at LEE High School. I wanted to join this council to learn more about the environment, how our city plays into it, and to help educate others. Education is the first step in change. In addition to this, I am very passionate about the environment and environmental change and hope to work in this field later in life. I want to work with others to develop plans and longer-term solutions for our neighborhoods and city while representing District 7.

Arianna C, 16

My name is Arianna C and I am in 12th grade at BASIS San Antonio Shavano. I wanted to join this council in order to effect changes in San Antonio’s climate policies for future generations and work with like-minded peers who want to change our world for the better. I represent District 8. Nature is a space where I feel most at peace. All of my problems, fears, and desires are put into perspective. When I am outdoors I can just feel the physical sensations of the earth and wind and elements surrounding me, and I can just breathe.

Elle R, 16

My name is Elle R and I am in 11th grade at Health Careers High School. I wanted to join this council to help preserve the floodplain in my neighborhood and other green spaces in San Antonio. I also want to help serve my community by making San Antonio more sustainable. I represent District 7.

Jaya K, 15

Hi! My name is Jaya K, and I am in 10th grade at the International School of the Americas (ISA). I wanted to join this council because I’m excited to talk to other students who are passionate about the environment, and I want to learn about ways to help my community with climate change. I represent District 9. I love bike-riding, swimming, and hiking outdoors as a way to relax and stay active! Spending time in nature has taught me to respect and appreciate the environment.

Maya C, 16

My name is Maya C and I am in 11th grade at Antonian College Preparatory High School. I wanted to join this council to get more experience in researching policy and have the opportunity to serve my community in every way I can. I represent District 9. My connection to nature started by growing up in New Mexico; my dad always was outdoors which he made sure to emphasize with my brother and me. Both my brother and I participated in scout programs and were outdoors often so we naturally became protective of it. Being a first-generation immigrant, I’m also very aware of the inequity in the world that almost always connects with the environment and the effects that climate change disproportionately has on BIPOC communities. Seeing how people involved in lawmaking were able to fight for the systems they wanted in place inspired me to become very passionate about law and policy.

Maya R, 16

My name is Maya and I am in the 11th grade at Wagner High School. I wanted to join this council because of the amazing opportunities to create real change within my community. As well as learn from various individuals, their goals, and how they attempt to reach said goals, by sharing ideas with one another. I represent District 2.

Paloma J, 17

My name is Paloma J and I am in 12th grade at Health Careers High School. I wanted to join this council to learn what it takes to help a community on a city scale through environmental policy and climate action. I represent District 8. I have always been influenced by my mother to respect and enjoy nature. She implemented the habits of recycling, reducing our waste, and reusing what we have to protect nature. Now more than ever I appreciate the clean air, peace, and serenity that nature provides me. Seeing as it is in jeopardy, I want to preserve its beauty through meaningful action.

Project: Community Health and Food Security

The Community Health and Food Security team is focused on creating a non-profit called Garden of Plenty with the mission to provide community services. The organization will collect food, clothing, and feminine hygiene products to be redistributed to community members in need.  The team members are looking forward to setting up donation bins around San Antonio, creating a social media channel to raise awareness for issues in the community. They also hope to partner with local organizations to create community gardens in lower-income communities to help with food insecurity.

Isobella, 16

My name is Isobella S and I am in 11th grade at Tom C. Clark High School. I wanted to join this council to encourage our communities in San Antonio to come together to enact positive change and become more environmentally sustainable. I represent District 8. Nature is my escape from everyday life. Going on walks and observing nature allows me to step back and live in the present.

Nicole R, 17

Hi, my name is Nicole and I am in 12th grade at Robert G. Cole Highschool. I wanted to join the council to fight for the planet and my community by sharing my voice. I represent District 2. I am connected to nature because I have been taught to conserve and care for all of it. Nature is our home, and I feel most at home outdoors.

Nikki D, 16

My name is Nikki and I am in 11th grade at Providence Catholic Highschool. I wanted to join this council because I want to make a lasting change at my school that pushes us to become more mindful of our environment. I also believe that we can push our fellow San Antonians to take better care of our city. I represent District 7.

Ren L, 15

My name is Ren and I am in 11th grade at Frank L. Madla Early College High School. I wanted to join this council to raise awareness about the impact and risks of climate change, use my voice as a citizen of San Antonio, and do my part to combat the protruding issue. I represent District 3.

Ta’je B, 14

My name is Ta’je and I am in 9th grade at Wagner High School. I wanted to join this council to become more involved in my community and help the earth, as well as get the word out there about climate change in my generation and age group. I represent District 2.

Timothy B, 17

My name is Timothy B and I am in 11th grade at the International School of America. I wanted to join this council because I want to make a difference and meet people who also have a desire to bring about positive change in society. I represent District 9. I love being outdoors. It makes everything more enjoyable. It helps me find peace of mind and feel connected to the earth. I also love the beauty of mountains, trees, and snow. They always brighten up my day.

Vaibhavi S, 15

My name is Vaibhavi S and I am in 11th grade at Health Careers High School. I wanted to join this council to give back to my community by protecting the environment and I want to gain more knowledge on climate change and its impacts. I represent District 7. I love spending time outside, and I became connected to it because my mom and I started a small organic garden in our backyard. Spending time in the garden helps me calm down and relieves me of some stress because everything is so much more peaceful outside in nature.

Project: Infrastructure, Energy, and Recycling

This team is carrying out multiple initiatives to educate community members about infrastructure, energy, and recycling in San Antonio. One of their main policy proposals includes moving mixed-use districts and zoning them under Article III, Division 2 to classify it as a Base Zoning District. To spread awareness about energy consumption, they are creating a video for elementary and middle school students that explains what renewable energy is and what local sources of energy are used in San Antonio. To address recycling, locally, they will host a webinar with City of San Antonio officials about how to recycle in San Antonio and developing recycling habits.

Adam T, 17

My name is Adam and I am a 12th grader at Keystone School. I wanted to join this council to learn about San Antonio and sustainable city planning. I represent District 1. As a senior in high school, I find myself glued to my screen. I’ve realized it’s important for me to spend more time with my family and outside before I head to college. I’ve been going on frequent walks in the woods with my parents and our two dogs, Dude and Ollie. It’s a great way to connect with nature, destress, spend much-needed time with my parents, and give my dogs some enjoyment.

Aaliyyah G, 14

My name is Aaliyyah and I am in 9th grade at Travis Early College High School.  I wanted to join this council to change the environmental impact we have in the world and to have a safe plan for the people in poverty who will be most affected. I represent District 10.

Kayla P, 16

My name is Kayla P and I am in 11th grade at Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I wanted to join this council to expand my knowledge on climate change and related issues and be able to teach others about them. I represent District 7.

Martha S, 14

My name is Martha S and I am in 9th grade at Marshall Law and Medical Magnet High School. I wanted to join this council to help the environment and to be able to help make Earth a better place to live. I also wanted to spread awareness about all of the ways we can contribute to more sustainable communities. I represent District 6.

Myleiah G, 15

My name is Myleiah G and I am in the 10th grade at Harlan High School. I wanted to join this council because climate change is such an important topic that not enough people talk about. I also would like to help make information about climate change available for everyone since it affects everyone. I represent District 3. Just living on this planet automatically gives you a connection to nature and the outdoors. Nature keeps the world running. Being able to protect, respect, and appreciate nature’s beauty is something that everyone should strive for.

Paloma L, 15

My name is Paloma L and I am in 10th grade at Construction Careers Academy. I wanted to join this council to learn from professionals about how I can contribute to climate resilience and collaborate with other students my age to solve environmental problems. I represent District 6.

Pavneet K, 16

My name is Pavneet K and I am in eleventh grade at Brandeis High school. I wanted to join this council to act on climate change to create a better and more sustainable earth for future generations to come. I also wanted to join this council to shed light on and educate our community about climate change, so that we can empower each other to make a difference. I represent District 8. I connect to nature as my escape from reality. I like to journal outside and listen to music. Especially during Covid, nature has helped me a lot when it comes to coping with stress.

Serena T, 15

My name is Serena T and I am in 10th grade at Davenport High School.  I wanted to join this council to work with the Mayor to create climate change solutions for our local areas and to work with my teammates to create community solutions and have fun. I represent District 10.

Project: Biodiversity

The Housing and Transportation team is piloting a multi-faceted bus stop improvement project in San Antonio. They will beautify public space by building a garden on top of the bus stop shelter which will increase habitat for local pollinators, act as a filter for groundwater, and cool temperatures under the bus stop roof. The group was inspired by bus stop gardens successfully implemented in other countries. The second part of their project is to retrofit bike and scooter charging stations to bus stops to increase awareness of and access to sustainable transportation in San Antonio.

Abigail I, 17

My name is Abigail I and I am in 12th grade at John Jay SEA HS. I wanted to join this council because I wanted to learn more about the environment in our city and it was in my field of interest for a career. I represent District 4. I always enjoy the outdoors and have felt at peace when out there. I try to keep my environment clean and safe so others can enjoy its beauty.

Alex C, 17

My name is Alex C and I am in 12th grade at Alamo Heights. I wanted to join this council to expand my knowledge of environmental issues and political processes and gain experience in the arena. I represent District 10.

Audrey S, 15

My name is Audrey (she/her), and I am a 9th grader at Alamo Heights High School. I wanted to join this council to help prepare me for a college major and career in environmental science, and in the process, help San Antonio address the climate crisis that threatens our future. I represent District 10. I am an avid hiker. I was born into a very wooded and rural area and when we later moved to Texas, my after school program was run by a nature conservation (Kerville Riverside Nature Center Association) and I’ve been interested in learning about our environment and protecting it ever since. I’m interested in environmental science and law, concerned about climate change, and want to do more for my community.

Aysha D, 17

My name is Aysha and I am in 12th grade at the Advanced Learning Academy. I wanted to join this council because I believe the youth voice is important because we are the future of this city, and I believe we could make San Antonio a leader in sustainability across the nation. I represent District 1.

Ishan K, 15

My name is Ishan K and I am in 9th grade at Keystone School. I wanted to join this council because I believe we can make a difference and can act to reverse climate change. I want San Antonio to be an example for other cities. I represent District 9. I am a Boy Scout and I love hiking.

Nilka A, 17

My name is Nilka A and I am currently a senior at the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy. I wanted to join this council because I wanted to learn more about climate change and how I can help. I represent District 6. I like to connect to nature whenever I am feeling stressed. I will go outside to get a breath of fresh air or take my dog for a walk. I also love to take pictures of anything involving nature because it’s very beautiful and deserves to be appreciated.

Pablo L, 14

My name is Pablo L and I am in 9th grade at Advanced Learning Academy (Fox Tech). I wanted to join this council to combat misinformation and make the earth habitable for future generations. I represent District 2.

Sara G, 15

My name is Sara G, and I am a sophomore at Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I am proud to represent District 7 on the Council. I wanted to join this council to bring awareness to my communities about climate change and its effects on our city. I want to be a part of the change and help provide information to people so that we as a community can move towards a more sustainable future. Being a part of this council means a great deal to me since I have always been deeply passionate about nature and cultures around the world. Nature is my inspiration and source of strength. It is a daily reminder to keep moving forward and overcome obstacles in life despite their difficulty. Whenever I feel too overwhelmed or stressed, the natural scenery and warm sun help me refocus.

Supporting Council Members

Brandon C, 15

My name is Brandon C and I am in 10th grade at John Marshall Law and Medical services magnet school. I wanted to join this council to raise awareness as well as come up with reliable solutions to overcome climate change. I also wanted to join this council to be a voice for people of the black, brown, and LGBTQ+ communities across San Antonio. I represent District 7.

Celeste W, 15

My name is Celeste and I am in 10th grade at Keystone School. I wanted to join this council to learn about sustainability on a city-wide scale and work with my peers on finding solutions to ecological problems. I represent District 1. I am connected to nature because it brings me peace. It reminds me that the universe is infinite and I am a small piece of it.

Sofia R, 17

My name is Sofia and I am in 12th grade at Advanced Learning Academy at Fox Tech. I use nature to take a moment to relax and have a breath of fresh air. I represent District 5.

The Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives is led and facilitated by EcoRise, with support from the City of San Antonio Mayor’s Office and the Office of Sustainability. The initiative was made possible by a grant from the Hollomon Price Foundation, facilitated through San Antonio’s participation in the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.