2022-2023 Annual Report


Guided by our Core Values, Ten Strands operates with a small, diverse, and nimble staff who work with strategic partners throughout California to advance environmental literacy. Our team serves as a catalyst for transformational change in the public education system and believes that all students have the potential to become future-ready, with the capability of discovering viable climate solutions for their communities.


Dear Friends,

Since launching Ten Strands in 2012, we have supported over thirty-three thousand teachers across the state in using a model curriculum developed to support environmental literacy in delivering thirteen million environment-based lessons. We work at the state level to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, empowering the next generation of youth leaders with the education to face and find solutions to challenges in their local communities. Our partnerships have secured a $6 million investment from the state to create curricular resources focused on climate change and environmental justice, making California the first state to publicly finance the creation of such units.

As a core priority, our advocacy work plays a critical part in scaling environmental and climate literacy. Along with building the capacity of districts and county offices of education to implement proven strategies, and strengthening the statewide network of dedicated partners, we are catalyzing change through an innovative whole school systems approach.

We value our partnerships with and the contributions made by community-based organizations to enrich the education experience of all students. As a field catalyst, Ten Strands embraces:

  • Equity Inside and Outside
  • Innovation
  • Shared Leadership
  • Care and Connection
  • Transparency
  • Persistence

Beyond equity statements and verbal commitments to support marginalized communities, we take our responsibility to uplift impacted voices and share leadership seriously. As you continue reading our Annual Report, you will see how our team has intentionally placed these values into the creation and growth of our programmatic initiatives.

Together, we have accomplished many great things in these past ten years. The future of Ten Strands is a future that will continue to ensure that students across California are equipped with the knowledge necessary to create healthy communities.

With immense gratitude,

Karen Cowe, CEO



features in nationally recognized media outlets


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Ten Strands expanded its capacity in 2022-23 to advance the environmental literacy of K–12 students by welcoming new staff members to the team. We also organized and spoke at over twenty conferences, events, and webinars, highlighting our influence and expertise on environmental and climate change literacy efforts in California.

Last summer, Ten Strands announced the addition of new director of curriculum Roni Jones, who is leading the development of California’s new Climate Change and Environmental Justice Program (CCEJP). Roni brings to Ten Strands over three decades of success in leading educational systems change.

In August, Ten Strands also welcomed Andra Yeghoian as our new chief innovation officer, bolstering our team and the work of our organization and sparking environmental literacy with her whole systems approach. Andra brings her experience of working at the county office of education level, where she directly influenced twenty-three school districts through her programs. She is now focused on taking her programs to scale across the state. Andra has spoken at over a dozen events this last year.

In early spring, Karen Cowe, Ten Strands CEO was invited to present strategies toward advancing environmental and climate literacy at the annual general membership meeting of the California County Superintendents. Working closely with San Mateo’s superintendent Nancy Magee, Karen shared our vision for how to scale climate change education and environmental literacy across fifty-eight counties.

Destinations + Tie-Ins to Advocacy, Communications, Research, and/or Partnerships


Climate Change and Environmental Justice Program (CCEJP): A collaboration between Ten Strands, the San Mateo County Office of Education, the California Department of Education, and community- and student-centered organizations  who have come together to create K–12 open education resources focused on climate change and environmental justice.

We believe in empowering students to be environmentally literate, engaged citizens who can act for the well-being of their family, broader community, and environment. Our focus is to support teachers with age-appropriate instructional materials on local environmental challenges, sparking students’ curiosity about how their community is affected and possible solutions. This year, the CCEJP writing teams — made up of community- and student-centered organizations with diverse experiences writing curriculum and providing professional learning — have made significant progress toward developing the curricular units. Lesson plans continue to be drafted under the guidance of Ten Strands, BSCS Science Learning, and the Climate Collective. Read more about the curricular resources here.


As part of our work on CCEJP, we supported Senator Ben Allen’s budget request for the state to allocate an additional $10 million to provide sufficient professional learning support for teachers, and build upon and leverage the initial investment in curricular resource development. Through this campaign, we built a broad coalition of 250 supporters, positioning us for a successful campaign next year.

Read our responses to the California State Budget process this year:


teachers have already expressed interest in contributing to and using the CCEJP curriculum.


individuals, education entities, and organizations submitted letters of support and made their voices heard on social media and by emailing budget leaders.


Our CCEJP writing teams have each published their story on how they hope to empower young people to understand climate change and environmental justice, leading to action in their communities. Check them out here.


views of CCEJP stories


California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI)

A collective action network seeking to ensure access to high-quality environment-based learning for all California’s TK–12 students.

We believe in the power of systems change as a lever to ensure that all students have access to high-quality environment-based learning. This year — with a membership made up of educators, governmental and non-governmental agencies, scientists, sustainability professionals, and individuals with expertise on the environment and systems change — CAELI completed its first full season under the leadership of Andra Yeghoian as project director and the new Theory of Action. Andra replaced Ten Strands’ CEO, Karen Cowe, who was in this role for the first eight years of the initiative. Learn more about how the hubs promote student learning in our monthly newsletters.

 Joining Juanita Chan-Roden, we also welcomed CAELI’s newest co-chair, executive director of the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Estrella Risinger, and said goodbye to departing co-chair Craig Strang, since the launch of CAELI. We thank Karen and Craig for their service. Read more about the leadership transition that took place in June 2023 here.


At CAELI, we have new and exciting opportunities for individuals and organizations to be a part of the movement! This year we published two new web pages: one provides ways to Get Involved, and the other offers access to the many Resources created by CAELI.

CAELI in numbers


new CAELI Members


participants in CAELI events and programs


people with CAELI resources and stories


new newsletter subscribers

,200 +

social media followers


new users to our website


Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Projects (ECCLPs):

A collaborative effort between Ten Strands and the UC and CSU schools of education to educate the more than 400,000+ graduating high school students per year in California to become literate in climate change and environmental justice issues and solutions.

Many of California’s 5.8 million public school students enter adulthood with inadequate climate and environmental justice literacy. Ten Strands partners with ECCLPs to build pre-service and in-service educator capacity to activate and empower students to be literate in climate and environmental justice issues. Last fall, approximately 400 climate activists gathered at UC Irvine to relaunch ECCLPs and recommit to the fight for environmental literacy in PK–12 education systems across California. Read about the event here.


In the spring of 2023, ECCLPs launched its first campus hub at California State University, Dominguez Hills, as well as three working committees focused on Research, PK–12 Teaching and Learning, and Community-Based Partnerships.


ECCLPs inaugural executive director Kelley Lê shared her insights on the work advanced in the last year, featuring the voices of each ECCLPs committee lead. Learn about each of the committees and their leads here.

ECCLPs in numbers


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Outdoor Learning Initiatives:

Creating safe and healthy outdoor learning spaces at school sites, strategies for teaching and learning outdoors, and opportunities for field based residential and day-time outdoor learning.

Schoolyard forests shade and protect TK–12 students from extreme heat and rising temperatures due to climate change. The California Schoolyard Forest System℠ — our partnership with Green Schoolyards America — launched a free online resource library providing practical resources to schools and districts as they plan, develop, use, and manage schoolyard forests.


We supported the Living Schoolyards Act , a groundbreaking bill that directs federal resources to transform the spaces in which children play every day — schoolyards — into living and verdant spaces to protect students from extreme heat, nurture their curiosity and sense of wonder, invite learning, imagination, and play, to promote environmental stewardship.


In March, Ten Strands CEO Karen Cowe spoke at the first of a five-part webinar series about the Living Schoolyards Act.


Ten Strands’ director of strategic partnerships, Amy Frame, authored a new framework for the Resource Library that identifies how to use schoolyard forests to support academics across grades and subjects.

Sustainable and Climate-Ready Schools Initiative:

A partnership with UndauntedK12 to ensure school infrastructure and grounds are resilient and support student health, safety, learning, play, and development in a time of rapidly increasing extreme weather.

In this era of rapid climate change, we need to ensure that the buildings and grounds of California’s public schools are developed as sites of resilience and sustainability. In 2022, we partnered with UndauntedK12 to launch the California Climate Ready Schools Coalition, a group of thirty diverse groups representing various perspectives on education and climate policy collaborating to support climate-ready schools for California’s most vulnerable students.

In the spring of 2023, the Climate Ready Schools Coalition released Climate Resilient California Schools: A Call to Action, the first comprehensive report on climate-driven impacts on children in California. The report presents evidence-based recommendations, including a master plan for California’s schools that centers climate resilience within the 21st-century mission of public schools, securing students’ health, safety, and learning through extreme weather events, environmental hazards, and other disruptions.

Bill Passed!

This year, we supported and helped pass Senate Bill (SB) 394, which requires the creation of a master plan for healthy, sustainable, and climate-resilient California schools. In April, Andra Yeghoian moderated a policy forum on how schools can tackle the climate crisis and the path ahead to achieve climate-resilient schools.This bill is a huge win for our state in building school resiliency and preparedness for climate change to protect student health and well-being.


In March, Ten Strands CEO Karen Cowe spoke at the first of a five-part webinar series about the Living Schoolyards Act.

New Partnerships:

The Climate-Ready Schools Coalition is made up of over twenty-five organizations, led by Ten Strands and UndauntedK12, and has forged a number of new partnerships through advocacy efforts and the research report.

Data Initiative for Environmental and Climate Action in California’s TK–12 Schools:

A partnership with UndauntedK12 to provide an interactive data sets that can be used to catalyze change for environmental and climate literacy and action efforts in California TK–12 schools.

This Data Initiative responds to the need for an equity-informed, data-driven approach that prioritizes underserved communities and addresses environmental injustices. This year, the Data Initiative (currently in beta) has made significant progress in advancing a statewide analysis of:

  • school districts in counties taking the most and least amount of environmental and climate action;
  • the California Green Ribbon program since 2014; and
  • the extent to which the twenty-five largest school districts in California have invested in environmental and climate action.


The Data Initiative identifies key demographic indicators related to need, as well as tracks readiness and progress on high impact leverage points for change such as school board policies, bond measures, and investments in environmental and climate initiatives and staff to lead these initiatives.


The Data Initiative launched a website that includes the start of the interactive data sets that can support scaling implementation of environmental and climate action in California’s schools by using an equity-informed and data-driven approach.



California Youth Climate Policy (CYCP) Leadership Program: In May, we launched a new statewide youth program designed to empower high school students to enact real change in their school or district. Facilitated in partnership between Ten Strands, the Sierra Club, and UndauntedK12, we are supporting forty-five tenth-through-twelfth-grade students to take climate action into their own hands. Throughout the program, students focus on foundational knowledge and skill-building activities related to environmental and climate action. Students will then apply their knowledge and skills on leading an advocacy campaign that passes climate policies (or builds on existing policies) in their school or district.


Ten Strands has been supporting local education agencies (LEAs—county offices of education and school districts), schools, organizations, and individuals with direct services on environmental and climate literacy and action. In the coming year, we look forward to expanding our capacity to support schools in integrating environmental and climate literacy as well as action on sustainable and climate-resilient schools into TK–12 education across the whole system.


Featured in our bi-monthly newsletters, this year we’ve helped uplift twenty-four stories about environmental and climate literacy efforts in California.



Marwa Abdelghani

Communications Manager

Riki Bertoldi

Climate Corps Fellow

Will Booth

Climate Corps Fellow

Karen Cowe

Chief Executive Officer

Navreet Singh Dhaliwal

Philanthropic Engagement Manager

Jeffrey Dowling

Instructional Designer

Dr. Amy Frame

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Dr. Roni Jones

Director of Curriculum

Jilliann Rodriguez M'Barki

Chief Advancement Officer

Celeste Royer

Director of Equity and Inclusion

Andra Yeghoian

Chief Innovation Officer

Board of Directors

Dr. Tom Adams
Susanna Cooper
Candice Dickens-Russell
Rishi Gurjar
Dr. Adrian Hightower
Dr. Kelley Lê
Greg Moore, Board Advisor
James Mousalimas
Sheila Nahi
Will Parish, Board Chair
Glen Price
Robert Sheffield

Advisory Board

Bill Andrews
Jennifer Caldwell
Paul Chapman
Jayni Chase
Dr. Milton Chen
Jack Chin
Dr. Hardin Coleman
Diana Dehm
Randi Fisher
Mark Gold
A.J. Hudson
Cannon Michael
Suzanne Schutte
Leslie Mintz Tamminen


  • Action Lab for Planetary Health at Stanford Medicine’s Center for Innovation in Global Health
  • Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education
  • BSCS Science Learning
  • California Association of Science Educators
  • California Department of Education
  • California Environmental Literacy Initiative Leadership Council
  • California Geographic Alliance
  • California Global Education Project
  • California History Social Science Project
  • California Partnership for Math and Science Education
  • California Regional Environmental Education Community Network
  • California Science Project
  • California State University System
  • California Subject Matter Project
  • CalRecycle
  • Center for Ecoliteracy
  • Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation
  • Climate Generation
  • Climate Literacy Committee of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter
  • Climate Mental Health Network
  • Community Resources for Science
  • Concord Consortium
  • Environmental Education Collaborative
  • Environmental Volunteers
  • GISetc
  • Global Nomads Group
  • Green Guardians
  • Green Schoolyards America
  • Lawrence Hall of Science
  • Long Beach USD
  • Marine Science Institute
  • Monterey County Office of Education
  • Mycelium Youth Network
  • Oakland Teachers Advancing Climate Action
  • Orange County Department of Education, Inside the Outdoors
  • Project Look Sharp
  • RTI International
  • San Diego County Office of Education
  • San Joaquin County Office of Education
  • San Mateo County Office of Education
  • Santa Clara County Office of Education
  • Santa Clara USD
  • Santa Cruz County Office of Education
  • SEI
  • Solano County Office of Education
  • Stanford University’s Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research
  • The HEAL Project
  • The Inverness Institute
  • UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools
  • UC Berkeley Data Discovery Program
  • UCI EcoGovLab
  • Undaunted K-12
  • University of California System


Revenue and Expense

Ten Strands operates on a July 1 through June 30 fiscal year


Total Revenue and Support: $4,734,751

Government Agencies: $2,826,432.63
Foundations: $1,556,666
Project Consulting: $188,561
Government Grants: $25,000
Individual Donors: $69,075
In-kind Contributions: $47,428
Corporations: $21,588


Total Revenue and Support: $4,475,137

Government Agencies: $2,300,000
Foundations: $1,707,721
Project Consulting: $190,380
Government Grants: None
Individual Donors: $66,173
In-kind Contributions: $71,269
Corporations: 32

Program Expenses


Total Program Expenses: $1,452,694

California Environmental Literacy Initiative: $471,065
Outdoor Learning Initiatives: $191,572
Community Outreach: $496,500
California Climate & Environmental Justice Program: $113,026
Environmental Learning Programs: $118,093
Public Engagement: $62,437

Support Expenses:

Salaries & Personnel Expenses: $381,391

Other General & Administrative: $46,574

Total Support Expenses: $427,965


Total Program Expenses: $3,633,920

California Climate & Environmental Justice Program: 2,160,992
California Environmental Literacy Initiative: $566,036
Outdoor Learning Initiatives: $279,317
Community Outreach: $277,412
Environmental Learning Programs: $190,531
Public Engagement: $46,812

Support Expenses:

Salaries & Personnel Expenses: $520,105

Other General & Administrative: $124,828

Total Support Expenses: $644,932

Change in Net Assets

2022: $2,854,092 0
2021: $166,164 0


Thank you to our supporters

At every level, our accomplishments are all thanks to our supporters who enable us to provide environmental literacy learning experiences to California’s K—12 students.

check_small Donors with consecutive giving over the past three years

check_small Loyal donors with five or more years of support

check_small Donors who have given annually since our founding in 2012

CORAL $250,000–$499,999

  • Elizabeth R. and William J. Patterson Foundation check_smallcheck_small

HUMMINGBIRD $100,000–$249,999

  • First Republic Bank Foundation
  • Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation
  • Suzanne U.D. Parish Foundation
  • Pisces Foundation check_smallcheck_smallcheck_small
  • Sand Hill Foundation check_smallcheck_small

SEA STAR $50,000–$99,999

  • BelleJAR Foundation
  • William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation check_small
  • Jennifer Caldwell and John H.N. Fisher check_smallcheck_small
  • Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
  • Lampert Byrd Foundation
  • National Geographic Society
  • Diana Nelson and John Atwater check_smallcheck_small
  • Julie and Will Parish check_smallcheck_smallcheck_small

SEA OTTER $25,000–$49,999

  • Katie Albright and Jake Schatz check_smallcheck_small
  • Anonymous
  • Rick and Tonya Antle
  • California Community Foundation
  • Bob and Dana Emery check_smallcheck_small
  • HalfMyDAF
  • Clarence E. Heller Foundation check_smallcheck_small
  • HRH Foundation check_smallcheck_small
  • Morgan Family Foundation
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Silver Giving Foundation check_smallcheck_small
  • Susan and David Tunnell check_smallcheck_small

CACTUS $10,000–$24,999

  • Anonymous
  • Janice and Matthew Barger check_smallcheck_small
  • Leslie Berriman and Nion McEvoy check_smallcheck_small
  • The Kelly and Sam Bronfman Family Foundation check_smallcheck_small
  • Eliza Brown check_smallcheck_smallcheck_small
  • Nina Brown de Clercq check_smallcheck_small
  • Owsley Brown III check_small
  • The Keith Campbell Foundation check_small
  • Ruth Cox and Milton Chen check_small
  • David and Carla Crane Philanthropic Fund check_smallcheck_small
  • Stephanie DiMarco and Jim Harleen check_smallcheck_small
  • Kate Ditzler and Stuart Gasner check_smallcheck_small
  • First Republic Bank check_small
  • Christine Gardner
  • Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen check_smallcheck_small
  • Betsy and Ed McDermott check_smallcheck_small
  • Sheila and Paul Nahi check_smallcheck_small
  • Nicholas J. and Susan S. Pritzker check_small
  • Kate Ridgway and Rick Holmstrom check_smallcheck_small
  • Sherman Family Fund check_smallcheck_small
  • Laura and Greg Spivy check_smallcheck_small
  • Laura and Jeffrey Ubben check_small

GREY WOLF $5,000–$9,999

  • Martha Conte
  • Stuart Davidson and Wendy Webster
  • John Lamm check_small
  • Bill and Stephanie Mellin
  • Susan and Bill Oberndorf check_smallcheck_small
  • Louise and Arthur Patterson
  • JaMel and Tom Perkins check_small

SUGAR MAPLE $1,000–$4,999

  • John Buoymaster check_smallcheck_small
  • Karen Cowe check_smallcheck_small
  • Paul Danielsen
  • Cathy and Sandy Dean check_smallcheck_small
  • Barbara Deméré check_smallcheck_small
  • Rebecca Draper check_small
  • Kate and Bill Duhamel check_smallcheck_small
  • Kamal El-Wattar check_smallcheck_small
  • Melinda Ellis Evers and Will Evers check_smallcheck_small
  • Pam Polite Fisco and Dennis Fisco check_smallcheck_small
  • Jason Fish and Courtney Benoist
  • Jessica and Stephen Galloway
  • Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund check_smallcheck_small
  • Paul and Eileen Growald
  • Shelly Guyer and Tom Huntington check_small
  • Julie B. Harkins check_smallcheck_small
  • Melissa and Shepard Harris check_small
  • Caryl and Mickey Hart
  • Sabrina and Mick Hellman check_smallcheck_small
  • Adrian Hightower check_small
  • Vince and Amanda Hoenigmann
  • Colin Lind
  • Dagny Maidman and Molly Wood check_smallcheck_small
  • Cannon Michael
  • MMHBO Fund
  • Meridee Moore
  • Maryam and Oran Muduroglu check_smallcheck_small
  • Harry Griffin Mumford Jr.
  • Emilie and Doug Ogden check_smallcheck_small
  • Simone Otus Coxe and Tench Coxe
  • Anne and Michael Parish check_small
  • Mauree Jane and Mark W. Perry check_smallcheck_small
  • Rina and Chris Chase
  • Dr. Krista Ramonas and Gordon Rubenstein check_smallcheck_small
  • Celeste and Jim Royer check_smallcheck_small
  • Cesar Rueda
  • Suzanne and Will Schutte check_small
  • The Stellar Blue Fund check_smallcheck_small
  • Susan Gilmore Stone and Prescott Stone check_small
  • Susan Swig
  • Kirk Anne Taylor and Nik Hallworth check_small
  • The Laney and Pasha Thornton Foundation check_smallcheck_small
  • Mary and Jerome Vascellaro check_smallcheck_small
  • Brooks Walker III Family Fund check_smallcheck_small
  • Lynn and Peter Wendell check_small
  • Mary and Yanek Chiu check_small

BEAR $1–$999

    • Thomas Adams
    • Craig Anderson
    • Bill Andrews check_small
    • JoAnn and Jack Bertges check_smallcheck_small
    • Eric Blasen check_smallcheck_small
    • Philip E. Bowles
    • Buzz Burlock check_smallcheck_small
    • Hedy Chang and Jack Chin check_smallcheck_small
    • Helen and Paul Chapman check_smallcheck_small
    • Gail and Hardin Coleman check_smallcheck_small
    • Nancy and Edward Conner check_small
    • Susanna Cooper
    • Jahmal Corner
    • Lisa Cottle and Matt Biggar check_smallcheck_small
    • Diana Dehm
    • Delphinus School of Natural History
    • Navreet Dhaliwal
    • Candice Dickens-Russell check_smallcheck_small
    • Thomas Van Dyck
    • Sandra Emerson
    • Amy Frame
    • Carol Inkellis and Joel Gingold check_smallcheck_small
    • Maya Gingold check_small
    • Mary and Daniel Gregory check_small
    • Peter Hellwig
    • Larry and Linda Howell
    • Jayni and Chevy Chase
    • Christopher Tellis and Isabella Kirkland
    • Missy Lahren
    • Laura and Michael Lazarus
    • Le Family
    • Andrea Lewis check_smallcheck_small
    • Grace and Jerry Lieberman check_smallcheck_small
    • Linda Livers check_smallcheck_small
    • Jilliann and Simo M’Barki
    • Alexis Davis Millar
    • Vicki Moore
    • Stephanie Rico
    • Jennifer and Marty Rigby check_smallcheck_small
    • Christy Rocca check_small
    • Donald R. Share check_smallcheck_small
    • Patti and Richard Shavelson
    • Robert Sheffield check_smallcheck_small
    • Darrell Steely check_small
    • Leslie and Terry Tamminen
  • Lisa C. Van Dusen check_smallcheck_small
  • Carl Vogt check_small
  • Billy and Kathleen Volkmann check_small
  • David B. Whitlock
  • Charlotte and David Winton
  • Evelyn Young