Environmental Service Learning Coordinator
BA, Government, Smith College
MA, Education, Leadership and Change, Antioch University
Sammy Lyon has been at Environmental Charter Schools since 2013, when they* were brought on to implement an exciting new environmental service learning program expanding Green Ambassadors to the larger community.
Sammy facilitates a youth-led internship in which students at Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) work in teams to explore sustainable community solutions such as waste reduction, rainwater harvesting, healthy food, energy efficiency and native plant gardening. High school interns train with community organizations and professionals to lead public outreach workshops, build hands-on environmental learning spaces on campus, mentor Environmental Charter Middle School students and conduct sustainability audits. Students then share their knowledge and passion with others.
Sammy also leads the Green Ambassadors Institute – a learning lab of Environmental Charter Schools – to create engaging professional development for educators in Southern California and share best practices in environmental education, interdisciplinary learning and community engagement. Sammy works with a team to support teachers in implementing environmental & experiential education as well as developing community partnerships.
Sammy first became passionate about environmental education and service learning when they taught their first after-school garden program in Springfield, Massachusetts. In college, Sammy worked at several organic farms and excelled in horticulture and urban politics, but when they saw urban food systems growing out of small hands in parking lots and school courtyards, Sammy knew their place was in education. Sammy went on to earn an M.A. in Education, Leadership & Change from Antioch University, focusing their research on developing critical thinking and community engagement through service learning. To Sammy, being back in their beloved hometown of Los Angeles doing the daily work of social change through meaningful education at Environmental Charter Schools is both an honor and a privilege.
In addition to being part of the ECS community, Sammy teaches youth film programs, works with schools and educators to develop sustainability education & youth leadership programs, and facilitates workshops for adults and youth exploring identity, privilege and social justice. You can also find Sammy making — and eating — fermented vegetables all day long.
*They is a gender-neutral pronoun used by many people to indicate gender fluidity outside of the male/female binary. Grammatically, they replaces he and she; them replaces him and her; their replaces his and her.