How New Branches Joins Environmental Education with Diversity & Equity

Here at New Branches, we are proud to be among staff who not only take pride in their work but go above and beyond to make a difference in our community. Tari Macias, our Student Advocate, has empowered the students at NBCA to be local changemakers in social justice in their own communities. Read below to learn more about how Ms. Macias connects environmental education with diversity, equity and inclusion and encourages the students to engage with the world around them!

It has been such a pleasure to work with the community and families at New Branches Charter Academy! Our students are really engaging more with the community and are eager to learn more about the world around them. Since New Branches is an environmentally centered school, I want to be more intentional about infusing this focus with our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. 

One of our goals this trimester is to form an after school club that will work closely with our local partners on projects to help students learn more about environmental justice within their own neighborhoods. With the help of several donors, we were able to get materials to start a micro library that includes resources and reading materials that focus on Environmental Justice and what it looks like to advocate for environmental change.

In honor of Black History month, we have chosen to highlight African-American Environmentalists. The students have put together a feature wall honoring some wonderful changemakers in the areas of food justice, climate change, agriculture, and environmental education. We will continue our DEI celebrations next month honoring women who are changemakers in Environmental Science. It is wonderful to watch our students get excited about our focus as they learn more about how to be great changemakers!

Last month the DEI pillar team began a four-part facilitation training in the areas of allyship, microaggressions, unconscious bias and culturally responsive teaching. Our staff will continue to work in their small groups through each topic area until the end of school. This series will lay the foundation for more intensive DEI training over the next couple of years. We are very excited to take this deep dive into understanding each other better and learning how to best serve our students in a way that is inclusive and engaging. I am so excited for the work that is to come!