When Maddie Taylor discovered Sprout Up at UCSB, she became obsessed and even worked to start her own chapter when she transferred to Barnard. But after the nonprofit stalled, she and other dedicated volunteers helped bring it back, and make it more impactful than ever.
Founded in 2009, Sprout Up teaches children about sustainability and environmental science. By igniting their interest in the world around them at a young age, the hope to help cultivate the next generation of change-makers.
Since its inception, Sprout Up has founded seven chapters in five cities across California, as well as two east coast university chapters created by Taylor. Their eight-week environmental programming is taught by volunteer college students in first and second grade classrooms in their respective areas.
According to Taylor, an interest in math and science begins to wane by the time children reach the third or fourth grade, so it’s important to get them excited about the earth and what it’s made of—even when they’re young. They also target Title 1and Title 3 schools that are often disenfranchised so they can help kids learn about the environment, regardless of economic circumstance.
After hearing that Sprout Up on the west coast had largely stalled, Taylor worked to maintain its curriculum and community in NYC. Along with training new chapter teams to teach in classrooms, she hunted for fiscal sponsorship so the east coast chapters wouldn’t meet a similar fate. She also helped establish a decentralized power system so everyone on their executive board, as well as the volunteers, have a say in the nonprofit’s decisions. Along with achieving sponsorship, she’s also been able to make Sprout Up her full-time career.
Those interested in donating to Sprout Up, hosting a program in their classroom, or starting a chapter of their own can learn more on their website.