Awards ranging from $100K to $1 million will be determined by a weeklong online vote starting Tuesday, 11/27. Sprout Up is calling on the community to support the program by voting here.

Since founding in 2009, Sprout Up’s college student volunteers have taught more than 3,000 1st and 2nd graders to view their everyday actions through a lens of sustainability. After receiving a small grant through the Chase Community Giving Program earlier this year, Sprout Up was selected out of more than 7,000 candidates to compete for the $1 million grand prize in the Educators and Mentors contest category.

Sprout Up remains entirely youth led, youth powered and youth focused. 22 year-old Founder and Executive Director Ryland King, a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara, attributes the success of the organization to a relentless focus on creating change from the youngest members of society up. “We’ve seen firsthand that when kids are informed and enthusiastic about protecting the environment, it’s contagious,” he said. “With the help of votes from the Santa Barbara community, we can reach thousands more kids, laying the foundation for a brighter future for us all.”

In 2011, Sprout Up won the $100,000 grand prize in a Facebook contest sponsored by Dockers. With the funds, Ryland and his team were able to expand the program by launching four regional chapters across California. Funding from the Chase contest would allow the team to continue expansion efforts to new chapters in California and beyond, as well as to bolster operations in existing regions like Santa Barbara.

“Sprout Up’s lessons are among the very few moments some of our most disadvantaged and isolated students seem to light up to learning.” Said Andrew Martin, Adam Elementary School’s Science Specialist. “Their program is becoming a model for improving all primary science and environmental education in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.”

How You Can Help

You can help Sprout Up win up to $1 million by helping spread the word about the contest, and directing readers here to cast their votes. If you have questions about Sprout up or would like to get involved please contact Ryland King at or by phone at (650) 576-0325.

About Sprout Up

Sprout Up provides free, youth-led environmental education programs to 1st and 2nd grade classrooms in public schools throughout California. Our college student-instructors teach children vital concepts in environmental science and sustainability during the earliest stages of their educational development, cultivating the next generation of passionate caretakers of the earth. Through activities, experiments, and discussions, we get kids thinking in new ways about the world that surrounds them, inspiring them to bring the message of environmental stewardship home to their families and friends. In this way, we strive to promote sustainability throughout our many communities, from the youngest members of society up. For more information, please visit us click here.


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