Nonprofits using STEM to Find Climate Solutions


Explorers-2Photo by Blue Sky Fund

Nonprofits using STEM to Find Climate Solutions


Nonprofits in our network are collecting data, forging studies, empowering youth and rallying communities around the science that drives our movement. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) work is critical in finding solutions to the climate crisis. That's why members of the 1% for the Planet community are dedicated to propelling data-backed progress in the fight for a safer future. These organizations are making incredible scientific strides while empowering and welcoming more STEM-enthusiasts into the movement. 

Get to know seven nonprofits in our network through the eyes of team members at the forefront of their missions. 


DSC_1449Photo by Sea Ranger Service

Wietse van der Werf, Founder & CEO

Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Scope: Global


"The Sea Ranger Service recruits young people from coastal communities to play a central role in scientific research at sea. Training them as Sea Rangers and employing them full-time as crew on ocean research ships is a unique way to involve those typically not involved in the sciences. It gets young people involved with hands-on sampling, tracking, and monitoring while improving their job prospects.


“It has been tough but super educational. I have even gained a lot of self-confidence and discipline.” - Juliette, 23 years old, Sea Ranger.


The impact from the approach is clearly visible. Young people that do not have the opportunities to follow scientific studies, are now part of crucial scientific discovery. Knowing that the samples and data you collect as a Sea Ranger are used as part of renowned scientific studies to better understand issues like climate change, is really empowering."


missionAtWork_1Photo by SkyTruth

Brendan Jarrell, Geospatial Analyst

Location: West Virginia, USA

Scope: Global


SkyTruth is a conservation technology nonprofit using satellite imagery and data to inspire people to protect the environment. 

"When I first began at SkyTruth, I was an intern with a degree in engineering, a curious personality, and an ambitious spirit. I worked hard during my internship and after six months, my higher-ups offered me a full-time position as an analyst. I am now in charge of SkyTruth’s internship program, training students to uncover pollution events and report on otherwise unseen bad behavior using satellite imagery. I challenge our interns every day to strive for their best version of themselves, asking difficult questions of their work while also being available to offer guidance along the way.

Interns assist with the biggest projects at SkyTruth, including Project Inambari to detect unregulated mining in the Amazon, and Cerulean, which tracks oil pollution at sea. Some of their accomplishments include completing a comprehensive review of oil pollution at sea and developing machine learning workflows to detect road-building in remote areas with satellite imagery. Many are now pursuing STEM careers, and in the process are seeking to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the planet."


Photo 1_Coralive.orgPhoto by Coralive

Julie Pezin, MSc. Student

Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Scope: Global is dedicated to the mission of protecting and restoring healthy oceans around the world. Their works centers upon creating long-term solutions for coastal communities, keeping the health of people and ecosystems at the front of their mission. 

"Julie Pezin has joined the team to monitor a one-year coral restoration study supported by Mineral Accretion Technology. The project takes place in the Easternmost island of the Seychelles, Fregate Island private. To mitigate the effects of global threats, active reef restoration efforts have been conducted over the past decades. Around Fregate Island, previous experiments using Mineral Accretion Technology have shown to significantly increase the speed of growth and resilience of transplanted corals.

Our project aims at finding the most suitable approach toward reef development by investigating the capacity of Mineral Accretion Technology to support coral growth and survival when applied during different lengths of time throughout the day.

Her unique position as a MSc. Student is to provide continuous monitoring of the study with maintenance of 40 reef structures, electricity supply, data collection & processing, as well as statistical analysis, to draw conclusions and produce an accessible synthesis work. With this project, we have a great opportunity to combine Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, to find the best solutions and eventually revolutionize coral restoration."


49431472888_d33a4f1da9_oPhoto by Green our Planet 

Casey Juliano, Librarian

Location: Nevada, USA

Scope: National


"Green Our Planet empowers kids to be passionate about STEM by connecting them to the awe and wonder of these subjects through school garden and hydroponics programs. Traditional educational models place students in a classroom, listening to lectures and staring at computer screens. This model has its benefits, but it falls short when it comes to engaging and inspiring students. Our school garden and hydroponics programs provide teachers and students an experiential learning approach to schooling.


The garden or hydroponics unit acts as a portal to the magic and majesty of the universe, allowing students to immerse themselves in STEM subjects with all of their senses.


Our programming gives students a deeper personal connection to the material - a seed with the blueprint to sprout into passion later in life. Our impact came up recently in a story from our hydroponics program at Nate Mack Elementary school. Casey Juliano, the school’s librarian, helps run a brilliant program for students in grades Pre-K-5.

Before starting the program, five students struggled to work positively at school with peers and teachers. After launching the program, she created a hydroponics club for these students. Every day they would plan and manage the hydroponics system for the class. They started showing up to classes, getting work completed, and feeling connected to the school. Ms. Juliano said their transformation was powerful; the hydroponics program allowed them to feel important, needed, and valued."


Explorers-5Photo by Blue Sky Fund

Tanesha Powell, Academic Program Manager

Location: Virginia, USA

Scope: Local


Blue Sky Fund is a youth development nonprofit that provides transformational experiences for urban youth through outdoor education.

"Blue Sky Fund's philosophy is that seeing is believing, and hands-on activities produce learning. As Blue Sky's Academic Program Manager, I prepare our front-line educators to show students of color that they belong in natural spaces, as well as how they can connect learnings from STEM experiences to their everyday life. I encourage our team to approach instruction with enthusiasm, authenticity, and transparency, which inspires our students to embrace nature and see themselves as STEM specialists. Hearing students claim, "I'm a scientist!" makes our work worth it.

Watching students go from being afraid to sit on the grass, to excitedly harvesting and tasting fresh vegetables, to wading in the river to collect living specimens, or making plans to return to these natural spaces with their families, brings our STEM education full circle."


Photo credit -- Johnny Le CoqPhoto by Johnny Le Coq

at Woodwell Climate Research Center
Allie Cunningham, Volunteer Coordinator

Location: Massachusetts

Scope: Global


Science on the Fly seeks to further  understanding of changing watersheds around the world through long term, world-class river science. The organization works to bridge the gap between science and public policy, and to activate and inspire a broad community of river stewards to take ownership of the process.

"Since January of 2020, Science on the Fly has been growing much faster than any of us expected, thanks to the support of the fly-fishing community. We had four volunteers at the start of the year, with about ten sample sites in three states. Now, we have over 90 volunteers and 300 sampling sites across 37 states! 

As the volunteer coordinator, I have been lucky enough to get to know each of our volunteers. Their passion for fishing and for learning about their own watersheds is profound. Volunteers have told me that since sampling they now have an even deeper connection to their rivers; they feel even more motivated and empowered to protect their local watershed from the harms of humans and climate change. Science on the Fly has done the same for me, and I’m grateful to be able to share that with others. Together, we’ve collected and analyzed hundreds of water samples. From protecting the rare Warrior Bass in the Black Warrior River of Alabama to the droughts and wildfires in Western states and even the thaw of permafrost in the Arctic, the story of our rivers is finally starting to be told."


GCD 2019 - Bejing  (1)Photo by Design-a-thon Works

Anne Sallaerts, Managing Director

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Scope: Global


"Design-a-thon Works empowers children (aged 8 - 12) around the world to design sustainable futures using simple technologies and a proven, collaborative design process. We call this a ‘design-a-thon'. Design-a-thon Works is on a mission to empower 1 million children to become changemakers for a better world.

With this program, Designathon Works is responding to the needs that children in the 8 to 12 age group have. They want relevant education that contributes to contemporary environmental and social problems. Children have unlimited imagination and creativity, which – if guided well – can lead to brilliant solutions. In our programs many children discover that their possibilities are unlimited and they think beyond their borders, literally and figuratively. But most of all, it is necessary to listen to them!

Mozes (10 years old, participant of the Global Children's Designathon) shares a very important message: "Believe in yourself!"


For more nonprofits in our network working toward positive change, check out Nonprofits Supporting BIPOC Youth Leaders