About BYEN

Our History:

Kids next to solar panelsIn 2006, the Boston Youth Environmental Network (BYEN) was created to facilitate linking Boston Public School (BPS) students with hands-on science learning opportunities during and after school. Today BYEN is successfully building a pathway for Boston’s youth from kindergarten through high school of formal and informal environmental education experiences, and relevant, hands-on employment opportunities.

To date, nearly 150 public and private sector environmental education providers participate in the network. From start-ups to well-established leaders in the field, each organization sees the value of being part of a larger network, a network that elevates the conversation taking place between organization staff and BPS school teachers and educators during the school year, and facilitates the meaningful employment of teenagers in green jobs during the summer months. By convening a broad spectrum of stakeholders, connecting them to each other in service to our urban youth, sustaining these connections through comprehensive programs that leverage individual organizational strengths, and consistently measuring and evaluating program impacts, BYEN is transforming the way that the City’s children in grades K-12 experience hands-on science and environmental education and related employment opportunities.

Boston Youth Environmental Network (BYEN) is a comprehensive system of organizations providing hands-on environmental education and employment opportunities for children and youth. Our resources and connections help individual providers more effectively engage kids in outdoor learning, academic achievement and career exploration.

Our Vision:

Girl reading beneath treeAll young people in Boston are engaged in high quality, culturally relevant environmental education and employment experiences that provide opportunities for outdoor learning, academic achievement and career exploration.

Our Mission:

To align existing programs and create new models of partnership to form a pathway from kindergarten through high school of formal and informal environmental education experiences, and relevant, hands-on employment opportunities.

Theory of Change:

An equitably distributed and networked system of services, grounded in youth development principles, will provide a clear, accessible pathway of education and employment opportunities from childhood to early adulthood.

Program areas along the pathway on which we focus include:

• K-12 Environmental Education

Kids holding a frog• Out-Of-School Time Environmental Education

• Environmental Youth Employment


BYEN achieves its mission by:

Convening: for engaged leadership and a common vision

Connecting: to coordinate training, align services, increase capacity

Sustaining: to develop resources and public awareness

Measuring and evaluating: for quality and impact


Our Staff:

BYEN is an initiative of Boston After School & Beyond.

BYEN Staff

Dawn Chávez

Helen Christou

Emily Shaer


BYEN Steering Committee Members

Pam Hess – Appalachian Mountain Club

Kate Anderson – Beyond Benign

Josh Bruno – Boston Private Industry Council

Beverly Nadeau – Boston Public Schools Science Department

Myrna Johnson – Boston Schoolyard Initiative

Dan Gelbtuch – Dorchester Bay Youth Force

Ros Everdell – Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

Eric Arnold – Hale Reservation

Daisy Ortega – Health Resources in Action

Ruth Goldman – Boston Park Advocates

John Zuman – INCRE

Jean Dorcus – Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center

Rebekah Stendahl- New England Aquarium

Kent Jackson – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Alex Chu – Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center

Bob Chen – University of Massachusetts Boston

Kristen Conroy – US Environmental Protection Agency

Jessie Scott – US Forest Service Urban Connections

Aaron Tavares – Youth Options Unlimited Boston

Jen Gresham – Zoo New England