Brower Youth Awards

About Us

Since 2000, the Brower Youth Award, the flagship event of the New Leaders Initiative program, has recognized outstanding youth leaders who are making strides in the environmental movement. The public ceremony and award is made possible by the New Leaders Initiative which is housed at  Earth Island Institute.  Each year, six young people based in North America are awarded the Brower Youth Award prize, joining a growing movement of youth leaders who are publicly recognized for their sustainable projects, innovative ideas, and informed analyses.

The goal of the New Leaders Initiative is to identify, engage, grow and support youth environmental leaders. This goal is met by raising the profile of young emerging environmental leaders at the Brower Youth Awards ceremony. In addition to the ceremony event, New Leaders Initiative produces year round programming such as “Movement in Green” and “Rooted and Rising” that serve as capacity building for environmental leadership.

Our youth leadership training and alumni services includes professional skill building, webinars, coaching, networking events, workshops, community partnerships, and providing access to resources and relationships to lead and sustain effective campaigns and projects.

Our Programs at a Glance


The Brower Youth Awards

  • A national awards ceremony and cash prize
  • Leadership training/ coaching
  • Winner documentary film creation and distribution
  • Media opportunities

Movement in Green

  • Local sponsored events, educational and networking opportunities
  • The Goddard Prize for Environmental Leadership and cash prize
  • The Earth Island Fellowship  program (University Level)
  • high school essay contest

Rooted and Rising

  • alumni services for Brower Youth Award winners
  • coaching, mentorship, informational webinars
  • professional development, capacity building and skills training
  • collaboration and partnerships with the entire Earth Island Institute Network

Who We Are


Director of New Leaders Initiative

Mona Shomali has been working at the intersection of environmental policy and social justice for over 15 years. As adjunct faculty, she has taught international environmental policy and environmental justice courses at The New School, Pace University and New York University. She also taught an ecology course at the New York Botanical Garden.

In addition to academia, Mona has worked as a researcher for the case Sarayaku vs. Ecuador  in the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights, a policy analyst for an NGO that lobbied the United Nations on behalf of small island states who face sea level rise, and as a writer/ contributor to a World Bank Report on Climate change and water distribution. When it comes to environmental and social justice leadership, Mona believes it is vital to  include, represent and and understand voices from all different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

Mona is thrilled to work with Brower Youth Award applicants to represent environmental and social justice issues that affect our communities. Join us for our annual Brower Youth Award Event on October 16th, 2018!

Email Mona to learn about our year-round programming, such as our: Brower youth award application process, program partnership for events, opportunities to apply for to the Goddard fund for environmental leadership projects, and our college level fellowships. at

Program Associate

Samantha Gomez is currently a Senior at UC Berkeley, planning to graduate in Spring
2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies.
Her passions include advocating for environmental justice and agricultural sustainability as well
as analyzing market trends and strategic development. Her post grad plans are to continue in
environmental advocacy through marketing for environmentally focused firms as well as to
continue to develop her passion for learning through travel and continued exploration in the

Samantha is thrilled to be a part of the Brower Youth Awards and to help foster youth
activism as well as to be continuously inspired by their stories and learn from their victories.

Email with inquiries about our local high school programming, Brower Youth Award alumni services, and media requests .