Brower Youth Awards

The Brower Youth Awards application cycle is now closed.

Earth Island Institute established The Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership in 2000 to honor renowned environmental advocate David Brower, who was quoted as saying “I love to see what young people can do, before someone old tells them it’s impossible.” It is with this spirit that we recognize the outstanding leadership efforts of young people who are working for the protection of our shared planet.


Youth environmental change leaders ages 13 to 22 (as of July 1, 2018) living in North America (including Mexico, Canada, some Caribbean Islands) and US “Territories” are encouraged to apply. Our application deadline for submission will be mid-May 2018. The link to the application will be posted on this page at the beginning of February 2018. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates.


Award Details

Each of the six recipients of the Brower Youth Awards will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work from an Emmy award winning film crew, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

During their stay in California, the recipients will participate in a camping trip, leadership activities, speaking and media engagements, and trainings and environmental conferences giving them a chance to meet with mentors and peers. We invest in their continued success by providing ongoing access to resources, mentors, and opportunities to develop leadership skills. The week of activities culminated in the awards ceremony in front of more than 900 guests in San Francisco on October 17, 2017.


Application Process

All applications must be completed using our online process. Please notify us well in advance of the deadline if you foresee any problems with submitting an application online.

You must complete your own application. Parents, friends, mentors, teachers, etc. must not complete it for you.

In addition to meeting award eligibility requirements and following all instructions to complete the online application, each applicant must submit:

  • Photograph of yourself
  • Letter of support from someone who is familiar with you and your environmental work (cannot be from a parent or guardian)

Please contact us well in advance of the deadline for support with the submission of your application or clarifying questions by emailing: Applications will be accepted until 9:00 pm Pacific Time on May 15, 2017. Applications submitted after the deadline due to technical issues will not be accepted.

We review all applications and an external panel of judges vets all semi–finalists. If you are selected as a semi–finalist, we will request a Skype Video Call with you. Finalists will be notified by mid-July. All Brower Youth Award applicants were notified about their status by August 1, 2017.


What We Look For

Applicants are assessed on the following criteria:

Outstanding Youth Leadership

You played the major leadership role in creating, organizing and implementing your project or campaign(s).

Issue & Approach

Your project is applying fresh solutions and approach to relevant environmental challenges.

Project Impact, Scalability, & Replicability

Is the project’s impact significant? Can your work be used as a model for other communities or campuses?

Charisma, Personal Commitment & Trajectory

What draws you to this work? What would winning the Brower Youth Award mean to you?


A Few Tips


The Brower Youth Awards are looking to recognize the leader of a group or an effort. While we will consider applicants who are implementing individual efforts, it is our tendency to focus on leaders of groups and efforts.

Research and science fair projects:

Many research and science fair projects are individual and/or one–time efforts. As such, they are difficult to compare to the leadership of on-going projects. We will not consider applicants who are implementing research and science fair projects, unless it is part of ongoing environmental efforts involving a larger group.

Earth Day and one-time conferences:

We understand the impact and necessity of Earth Day, conferences and one–time gatherings. However, we typically will not consider one–time gatherings for the award, unless the event produced long–term measurable impacts in which you have continued to play a significant leadership role.


Best practices webinar:

Join us for us for one or more of our webinars held during application season. Dates will be posted on our website and on Facebook and Twitter. These webinars are a terrific way to learn the ins and outs of the application and to get all your questions answered by New Leaders Initiative staff.