Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership (EOYAL) education program seeks to empower high school students in the Washington, DC – Maryland area to take action for the environmental health of their communities, and to build leadership skills while doing so. The program runs for a year and takes form as classroom or afterschool club activities for 10-25 students at each participating school or youth program partner. The EOYAL program model encompasses a variety of elements, including field trips, guest speakers, and student-led research, action planning, and presentations. Student teams also compete for seed funding to implement projects, and are responsible for project execution, and communicating with their peers, teachers, and others about project impacts. In the DC/MD area, EOYAL is supported through a collaboration between the Smithsonian (SI) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).