MYN Educational Director, Marylin Zuniga, stands with youth in the garden, offering over succulents to be propagated. In front of the two is a large amount of nutrient rich, dark soil, and behind the pair is a team of volunteers from MYN and Planting Justice, working hard to set up the Mycelium Youth Network Nursery. This nursery will be a space for Bay Area youth and families to gain access to ancestral wisdom, climate resilience knowledge, and green space. 

Mycelium Youth Network envisions a climate resilient Bay Area, where residents are equipped with the ancestral and environmental knowledge to self sustain and preserve their own communities. One of our latest projects in this area of curriculum has been the MYN Nursery, a space for Bay Area folks to have access to food justice knowledge and the tools to build a better food system. 

A MYN youth gardener at work in the garden, getting ready to transplant a lavender plant into a new home in the soil. At MYN, we focus heavily on herbal education, and encourage students to learn how to identify, use, and preserve plant allies. 

Mycelium Youth Network (MYN) is dedicated to equipping youth with the resources, training, and knowledge from the ground up that they will need to survive and thrive in a climate challenged world. We prepare our youth for a climate challenged future, today. 

Meet our Staff: MYN Mission High Educator and Gardener Linda Le working during COVID-19 in the garden in a socially distant manner. Linda is a freedom dreamer, educator, and grower of food. She loves teaching and learning in community with youth, especially around building more just futures. At MYN she’s been teaching gardening classes, helping with building out the nursery and teaching a climate resiliency class at Mission High School. In this class youth are exploring and building skills to respond to our climate crisis and hopes that all youth have a future where clean air, water and healthy foods are a reality for all.

Mycelium Youth Network (MYN)
2022 – $15,000 Youth Council
2021 – $15,000 Climate Resilience Work With Youth

Mycelium Youth Network (MYN), founded in 2017, is an all BIPOC, groundbreaking, youth-centered organization in the San Francisco Bay Area that prepares low-income Black and Brown youth in neighborhoods most impacted by both climate and environmental injustice, and who are most vulnerable to and already feeling the effects of environmental racism, for climate change.

MYN was founded to fill a curriculum gap in too many schools that fail to include climate resiliency in STEAM instruction. Through partnerships with schools and stand alone programming, they use a merger of ancestral traditions and traditional ecological knowledge that emphasize youth environmental stewardship and relationship building alongside a rigorous science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) curriculum that focuses on practical hands-on skills for climate resilience and mitigation that youth create and implement in their homes and local communities.

Youth are empowered to grow as visionary leaders and budding environmentalists, connect with ancestral teachings, and trust in the wisdom of the natural world. MYN centers this work on intersectional climate justice, which entails community-building but also preparing future leaders to carry out systemic change. In just three short years, they have provided hands-on climate-resilient training to close to a thousand frontline low-income youth of color throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. The skills youth gain in these programs are agency, leadership building, and rooted in a strong belief in the power of citizen science to change the world, crucial resources needed as the community collectively faces an increasingly precarious climate-affected world.

The Seed Fund will provide generous support for MYN’s groundbreaking current program Climate Resilient Schools which, working collaboratively with communities at several Oakland Unified School District and San Francisco Unified school sites, will create a scalable model for what community climate resilience can look like at a school across several areas of climate resilience: electricity, food, water, and air, each of which pertains to an area of their programming (Science for Survival, Growing Our Health: Food, Soil, and Carbon Drawdown, Water is Life, and Clean Air is a Right). This includes infrastructure building at schools sites, including water catchment systems, community events to foster community voice and prioritize community needs, creating aligned curriculum, and delivering professional development support for teachers and schools to embed the work. This pilot will create the model that aligns with MYN’s goals to scale the curriculum across both districts in the future, with coordinated learning pathways across middle and high school curricula. Even more, MYN envisions this work as going beyond the local community and into the larger world, creating data points for educators, adaptation professionals, and climate scientists to use in the promotion of tools to support global efforts to fight climate change. Data collected in this work will also be instrumental in guiding future curriculum and projects both locally as well as a guide for other cities and states.

This funded project directly supports MYN’s theory of change and organizational mission that building the capacity of front-line communities to address climate change not only mitigates the worst of climate change in the short-term but creates new ways for communities to engage with their natural resources sustainably in the long-term. Additionally, centering climate resilience at school sites ensures youth and their community members see themselves, their communities, and their futures directly aligned with school curricula, creating an important opportunity for real, collaborative, community-based climate solutions—all led by youth—bringing hope, resilience and youth-led community preparedness to those who are most impacted by climate change and environmental racism.

Mycelium is already considered a pioneer in climate education, named as one of the only organizations doing specific climate related work (International Transformational Resilience Coalition press release on 1/8/2019) and recognized internationally by the Quaker United Nations People’s Empowerment Climate Series. They have been profiled in SF Chronicle, KQED, Estuary Magazine, our podcast in We Rise productions, and a blog on us by Columbia University’s State of the Planet at their Earth Institute. MYN has also served as a core member of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC) and was instrumental in drafting culturally responsive youth-oriented solutions to climate change.