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Youth Programs

Program Supported By:

Litter Education and Awareness Program (LEAP)

Creating prevention programs that address the root cause of litter in our global environment is one of CUTL’s primary goals. Our Litter Prevention-Youth Awareness and Education Program is designed to tackle this goal by increasing youth awareness of the pollution that exists above and below the surface within their local community and empowering them with the knowledge and tools to make a difference.

Just a few examples of lesson plans that can be used in the Tahoe Basin or your own neighborhood:

Cleanup, Categorize, and Propose Solutions

suggested for Grades 8 through 12

View Lesson Plan

Macroplastics – A Visit to the Beach

suggested for Grades 5 through 8

View Lesson Plan

Spread the Message of Environment Protection – Art with Trash

suggested for grades 5 through 8

View Lesson Plan

Track your Trash – Where can you Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle

suggested for grades 1 through 3

View Lesson Plan

2023 Core Actions

  • Educate: CUTL has extensive submerged litter data. This data will inform educational experiences including lesson plans, activities and content.
  • Empower: Provide education and stewardship tools through hands-on interactive learning experiences.
  • Stewardship: Host educational video screenings and virtual reality experiences to increase youth engagement and spread awareness to a larger audience.
  • Inspire: Increase virtual accessibility to litter awareness curriculum to students across the globe.

Program Approach

  • Introduce the concept of litter and its effects on the environment
  • Discuss how litter enters the environment
  • Discuss the connection between litter on land and in the water
  • Explore ways to prevent litter from entering the environment
  • Empower students to make a difference through action. Hands-on activities will incorporate litter-sorting exercises and demos introducing students to grade-relevant STEM topics.
  • Develop video and virtual reality materials through professional film production resources. These resources will virtually transport students from the classroom to the lakebed, where they are introduced to freshwater ecosystems and lakebed litter.
  • Make lesson plans accessible virtually for classrooms across the globe.

LEAP in Action

Below the Surface- Filling the Gap

CUTL is working to bring attention to the unseen accumulations of litter in freshwater systems, starting with Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and other alpine lake communities. Many local and national organizations focus on litter awareness campaigns that address land-based litter accumulations and marine litter. In contrast, freshwater litter accumulation remains a relatively elusive topic and constitutes a scientific and public awareness gap.CUTL’s youth education program will help to close this awareness gap.

We look forward to expanding this program in the future to include more grade levels and areas of focus.

If you are interested in learning more about this program or would like CUTL to visit your classroom, please contact