The year was a productive and inspiring one for me and for STAY COOL. In 2016 we exceeded 200 active elder members, with more than 120 of those attending one of the 6 events we hosted, or joining us on our educational hike, or participating in a march or tree-planting press event, or raising their voice on local climate change policies through letter writing or in-person testimony. I’m especially proud of the new programs we implemented that allow STAY COOL to connect with children – those members of the future generations we are working to protect.
Because of our partnership with the Water Conservation Garden, we developed “Ms. Smarty Plants™ Cools the Climate” – a presentation that more than a thousand schoolchildren saw this year after it launched at Balboa Park on Earth Day. The Garden expects to reach more than 50,000 children next year.
We worked with young students to create art with ocean climate messages and provided SIO graduate students with the art to bring to the Marrakesh climate change conference in November. Last year, we did the same and the U.S. State Department used the art in one of its negotiating sessions.
We strengthened our partnership with the Climate Science Alliance, and developed a science-based education program to teach 6th graders and older about climate change impacts on our ocean. Through this partnership, our outreach to public schools exposed more than 250 students to hands-on science experiments, personal stories from early career scientists and inspiring art projects.
Our youth programs are unlike any other program currently offered to students in our region…and we’ve seen those students gain the knowledge they need to become well-versed in climate change, while also providing motivation for them to become environmental stewards.
In 2016 we engaged more than 30 individual donors – a first for STAY COOL. We also were successful in attracting a Community Enhancement Grant from the County of San Diego. And in just a month, we have raised $4,000 to help continue our Youth Engagement programs in 2017.
In the coming year, we have a committed donor, whose funds will cover half our operating budget. These funds will support our elder climate education events, along with our important outreach and advocacy work. But we need to raise more than $21,000 to continue our innovative youth engagement programs.
Many of STAY COOL donors shared their reasons for contributing. They said they were donating because they “believe in this organization” and one said “doing my small part in helping to raise awareness of the climate crisis, and corrective action to counter where possible.” Many donors said they were donating to honor their children and grandchildren. And one said, “now more than ever this is the most important issue of our time.”
Thank you for your continued involvement with STAY COOL in 2016 and your personal commitment to help preserve a livable planet for our children and grandchildren. While 2017 will bring with it new challenges, there are many reasons to be optimistic about local action on climate change. As Dr. Somerville said at our December 8 event, “We are at a critical crossroads. We still have a chance of limiting climate change to a tolerable level, a level that offers some hope of successful adaptation. Our window of opportunity is still open.”
Thank you for all you do,
STAY COOL Administrative Director