Known by students at Canyon High School as the biggest club on campus, the Eco Chicos Environmental Club is doing what it can to change the world one piece of trash at a time.
The Eco Chicos has around 100 members at Canyon alone, along with a sister chapter at Valencia High School and another club just starting up at Golden Valley High School, according to Canyon’s club adviser Dennis Yong.
“It was founded by a group of really passionate students, and our vision is to promote sustainability, engage students in local environmental projects and promote environmental stewardship,” Yong said.
Club members help with on-campus recycling and often partner with sister clubs for monthly events, which range from hikes to local or beach cleanups, like the city of Santa Clarita’s annual River Rally cleanup, which around 80 Eco Chico club members attended last month, or cleaning up local parks and near the school, along with local restoration projects, such as planting trees and hiking trail restorations.
For Canyon senior Kacia Stewart, Eco Chicos club president, it’s the beach cleanups she enjoys the most, but it’s knowing she’s doing her part to help that’s most rewarding.
“I joined the club because I wanted to get involved in helping our environment, and it seems like a really fun club, which it is,” Stewart said. “Just knowing that I’m doing my part in helping our environment and helping to stop climate change as best as I can as one human being is most rewarding.”
Similarly, Canyon senior Elizabeth Orozco, who has been involved with the club since her freshman year, said it’s the cleanups she enjoys the most, as they not only allow her to help the local ecosystem but also do so with friends.
“I just feel really passionate about wanting to help the Earth, and I think that doing it together is a great way to motivate each other to be better people,” the Eco Chicos secretary said. “When we do get together, we try to make a good impact on our community. … You make memories and you learn from each other.”
The club allows its members the opportunity to be hands-on in helping their community, and whether it’s about climate change, the local ecosystem or ways to be more ecologically conscious, there is always an educational aspect to their activities.
“The club helps to spread awareness about the dramatic change in our environment and what power we have to help fix it,” Orozco added. “We might not be able to make huge changes on a global scale, but if we can take care of our community, then I think that’s what matters the most.”
It’s the passion he sees from club members that Yong said gives him hope, as social change often comes from a group of passionate individuals, he said.
“I teach environmental science as well, so I’m well aware of the crises that we are experiencing, so when I see students dedicating and enjoying their time to make the world a better place, it gives me hope for the future,” Yong said. “To see students who are excited and passionate about saving the planet … I know that’s going to plant a seed in their heads for the future.”
Yong also hopes the club not only allows its members the opportunity to do more of these kinds of activities but also encourages others to do the same, a notion echoed by Stewart and Orozco, both of whom want to do just that and encourage others to be involved.
“You would be helping to make a change in a world and helping the environment,” Stewart said to potential club members. “The club helps you appreciate nature and helps you influence others to do the same.”
Students can join the Eco Chicos year-round, and the club meets monthly, usually on Saturday mornings, for group activities. For more information, follow the club on Instagram @canyonecochicos or contact Dennis Yong at [email protected].