Youth Environmental Summer Camp

June 5 to July 26

Eligibility: G7 to G12 students in Southern California
          with independent learning capability

This summer camp is provided to middle school and high school students in Southern California. Students learn about environmental topics on surface water, water treatment, groundwater continuation, water conservation, etc.. Students conduct research and design solutions under the guidance of environmental professionals.


SCCAEPA is teaming up with another non-profit organization, American Educated Chinese (AEC), to hold the second SCCAEPA & AEC youth environmental summer camp in the summer of 2022. Experts from SCCAEPA will lead middle school and high school students to study a broad range of environmental topics covering water resource, native plants, and solid waste management.


Students will form teams to conduct self-directed research and design projects on the above topics. Environmental professionals from SCCAEPA will coach the teams during the project-based learning process. Students will have the opportunity to integrate the knowledge into real-world environmental topics and propose their own feasible solutions. The camp will also identify each student’s leadership skill and reinforce it through the project. Each team will enter into a competition by summarizing its research and findings, and presenting their solutions to a group of judges at the end of the camp. Winning team will have the opportunity to present at the Asian American Engineer of Year for 2022.

Program Topics

Water Recycling/Reclamation

Have you been to Lake Cachuma and Lake Mead, and watched the receding water lines over the years? Have you heard of the one water concept? Do you want to learn about how wastewater is recycled, and how you can help conserve water at home?

This summer camp will start with a field trip and a case study at a water district facility so you can learn how water recycling is generally done. Then you will transition into learning how to conserve water at home and showcase your creativity!


Ms. Iris Huang , Principal Project Manager at Parsons Corporation

Organic Waste Recycling

Have you ever wondered where the trash goes and how we can recycle the trash such as organic waste to reduce pollution? For example, the wasted food in the United States — on average, 400 pounds per person each year, contributes significantly to methane emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, accelerating climate change. Composting organic waste reduces the amount of waste that is taken to landfills. “Organic waste” includes food, green material, landscape and pruning waste, organic textiles and carpets, lumber, wood, paper products, printing and writing paper, manure, biosolids, digestate, and sludges.

If everyone in the United States composted their food waste, the impact would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road. The State of California has established statewide targets to reduce the amount of organic waste disposal in landfills (50% reduction by 2020 and 75% by 2025). It also sets a goal to recover at least 20% of edible food that is thrown away by 2025 by donating it to people in need.

In this summer camp, students will learn concepts of organic waste recycling, observe how earthworms transform the veggie and fruit scraps into rich soil (garden gold) through their poop (also called worm castings), attend field trips to farms, and have hands- on activities on exploring invertebrate animals (worms), gardening, and composting.

Dr. Kenny Wang, Water Resources Control Engineer, Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

California Native Plants and the Environment

Spring, driving on a freeway, have you ever seen flowing mustard all over the rolling hills? Besides the breathtaking view and the impulse to go into the flowers to take pictures, have you wondered whether the flowering mustard is doing us any good? Are they native to Southern California?

What is the native ecosystem here anyway?In this summer camp, you will learn what the native Southern California plant community is, the dominant native plants, the invasive non-native species. You will have field trips to botanic gardens and habitat restoration sites and pick your favorite native plants for your garden. Each team will give a presentation on their water-saving landscape design at the end of the summer camp.

Ms. Kun Liu, Ecology Restoration Specialist
Ms. Donna Chen, Former Assistant Division Manager, City of Los Angeles

Surface Water Management

Clean beaches, healthy creeks, rivers, bays, and the ocean are important to the ecosystem as well as everyone living in the watershed. Residents in any watershed need clean and reliable water supply as well. Urbanization and human activities pose significant challenges in both water resources and water quality to maintain a healthy surface water system.

In this summer camp, the project provides an overview of the hydrological cycle and introduces the challenges and toolboxes to restore a healthy surface water system and to ensure safe drinking water supply. The course features four field trips throughout Orange County. Each field trip sheds light on a type of surface water management solution that environmental engineers and scientists are currently implementing in the area. Students will learn about these issues and solutions in the real world as they explore the scenic nature of local waterways.

Dr. Jian Peng, Orange County Public Works,
Ms. Nan Jia, PE, Environmental Engineer at CWE
Ms. Stella Shao, PE, Environmental Engineer at GSI

Drinking Water Distribution and Water Quality

Have you ever wondered how we get drinking water from water sources such as rivers and reservoirs? Have you heard of the drinking water lead pollution crisis in Flint Michigan that rocked the nation? Where the water comes from may change the chemistry of water, which can interact with pipe material, especially the old pipes that are prevalent in the nation, and cause corrosion and other issues impacting drinking water safety at our home.

In this summer camp, you will learn about concepts and practices of drinking water distribution from source to treatment plant and to your home, how the old drink water pipes may impact our water quality at the faucets in our homes, and participate in field trips. What happens in the pipe does not stay in the pipe. It will impact our drinking water quality and safety.

Dr. Gongde Chen, Assistant Project Scientist, UC Riverside
Mr. Cheng Tan, PhD candidate, UC Riverside
Mr. Sitao Liu, PhD candidate, UC Riverside

Cal EPA Small Grant Environmental Justice Project

SCCAEPA is initiating an environmental education and outreach project funded by a grant from CalEPA Environmental Justice program in April 2022. In collaboration with San Gabriel Education Foundation, the project will conduct a series of lectures and hands-on demonstrations to middle school and high school students on water conservation and green infrastructure. The project is aimed to increase the south San Gabriel community’s resilience to environmental burdens through educational outreach, as well as to increase parents’ knowledge about emerging issues and solutions surrounding environmental pollution and hazards.