Environmentally Educated

Grades of Green puts eco efforts directly into the hands of South Bay youth.

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    Suzanna Cullen

What do you get when four Manhattan Beach mothers and businesswomen become impassioned about education and the environment? You get kids in the South Bay and beyond investing time and energy to keep our globe healthy.

“This was a grassroots, personal effort to create a clean and sustainable earth by making every school green through the mantra of ‘Hands On, Mind On,’” says Kim Lewand Martin, founder and director of communications for Grades of Green.

The program has experienced tremendous success from grants that have helped fund its efforts to go into inner city schools, where cuts in resources don’t always permit formal programs.

“Every step we take to protect our earth makes a difference; collectively, we can make a huge impact.”

“Our education is across the board, and it’s about how individual changes make an exponential impact on the community, regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic placement,” says Lisa Coppedge, founder and director of programs.

Grades of Green appoints a Youth Board of Advisors so students can gain experience in leadership, green living principles, management of a non-profit and interacting in a business capacity with the board of directors.

“By engaging students at every level, we create a thread that makes it a life-style rather than simply a school program that begins and ends at a certain point,” notes Lisa.

The growth of Grades of Green and the implementation of so many programs in so many schools is testament to both the fortitude of the founders and the easy and inexpensive approach they have devised to save our planet and create a healthier life for all.

“As Margaret Mead said so well,” says Suzanne Kretschmer, founder and director of operations, “‘A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”


Every day matters for Grades of Green kids.

Make a Difference Mondays

Engaging educational programs about sustainable living.

Trash-Free Tuesdays

Recycling and composting.

Walk to School Wednesdays

Eliminating auto emissions.

deTox Thursdays

Reducing electricity and toxins.

Freaky Fridays

Celebrations and contests about the environment.