Environmental education is a key part of Hug It Forward’s bottle school program. Our vision is of communities free of piles of inorganic trash on the roadsides, countryside, in waterways, and burned for cooking. Through our environmental education program children learn to understand the difference between organic and inorganic trash, along with the major risks of plastic in their environment and in the world. These lessons and conversations open the door for discussions around other major environmental issues facing communities across Guatemala and the world, such as deforestation, mining, and pollution of air and waterways. Environmental issues provide a pathway to expose youth to questions around social justice, as well as a means to unite young people across communities in their own backyards and in other countries. Hug It Forward believes in the power of the youth to change the world.

Our Director of Environmental Education educates students from kindergarten through sixth grade, teaching the difference between organic and inorganic waste through many creative ways to reuse, reduce and upcycle waste. The broad goal of the environmental education program is to help facilitate students thinking about their environment, to realize its importance and to take collective responsibility in creating a greener village, town, country and world. In its development, different activities were put together which include the following:A talk to raise awareness of solid waste, making plant pots and creating allotments, making compost, making upcycled crafts, planting trees, and delivery of trash containers.

As Hug It Forward continues to expand bottle school construction to more communities in San Martin Jilotepeque,  our hope is that the environmental education program can grow in parallel.