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Mapmakers Center

Introducing Youth Green Mapmakers

How Green Is YOUR Neighborhood?

Children and young adults are important participants in Green Map System, and their Green Maps are powerfully expressive documents of their explorations, discoveries and hopes for their own communities. Whether made with a class, out of school club, summer camp or on their own, youth often chart smaller areas, such as their own neighborhood, school campus or favorite park. They may make a printed, digital, poster or mural ‘theme Green Map’ that’s tied to learning objectives or a campaign regarding a critical environmental issue. Green Maps and the process of making them gives youth a better understanding of current conditions and community resources and a voice in their own future, helping them communicate with their peers, older people and decision-makers.

Each project is unique, yet every one uses our globally designed Green Map® Icons to describe the sites, from bird-watching areas to heritage sites to toxic hot spots. This shared visual "language" of Icons makes it easy to read and understand all Green Maps, no matter where in the world they are created. Once you have registered your project online, you can download these Icons as a font that can be used with any computer program, or as a sheet of stickers you can print, cut and past onto a paper map. Young people also enjoy creating their own place-based icons to describe places of local importance not represented by our global iconography. Click here to see some of the local Icons, you can also download the complete Icon Poster or choose the youth sub-set in several languages!

Green Maps can be hand-drawn, traced or use computer applications of all kinds. We encourage all kinds of creative Green Maps -- narrative text, background information, photos, drawings, poems are often included. Older community members can take part in these Mapmaking teams too, mentoring the students and helping guide the project to fruition. Intergenerational Green Map projects can be powerful, both to bring the community together and to connect the past, present and future -- indeed we even co-published a book, Mapping our Common Ground on the topic!

Education Modules

Educators are invited to request our free Energy & Environment Education Modules (email us at info at greenmap.org). Designed for middle and high school students, these modules include Green Mapmaking and related sustainability resources for charting energy in the school, mapping street trees and green spaces, car-free mobility and waste reduction. They are free, thanks to New York City Environmental Fund, Body Shop Foundation and Seventh Generation Foundation. Tested for a year in NYC, we hope they will give you a great introduction to our engaging approach!

Seeing the World According to Youth

Green Maps give us a fresh perspective of our cities and towns. They help us locate eco-resources such as bike lanes, farmers markets and wildlife habitats, along with cultural sites that make our hometowns special. Every city has many wonderful places! Green Maps encourage us to discover them and to live a more natural and enjoyable life. Through the process, you’ll find out ways to put the places and things you like--or don't like--about the local environment "on the map."

Sometimes a Green Map is merged with another kind of map, such as a bicycle map or cultural heritage map. Youth also take on tough environmental challenges to community health, charting pollution or injustice sites. There have also been murals, posters or even postcard Green Maps! Visit our Youth Green Maps page and browse the varied and beautiful maps that have been completed around the world. Explore the profiles in the Maps section for more and newer projects – chose Youth under By Theme on the left side.

Browse through the education-related topics on the left of this page learn about the various Green Map projects and resources related to environmental education and community building. Check out our Store - we have some great books on Green Mapmaking, balloon sets, posters and of course, Green Maps available there!

If you are ready to get started, click Participate, and start the process of registration. There’s a small fee or you can provide our network with a service (such as a mapmaking resource you have created) instead. Then, download the Tools and begin making your own printed or digital Green Maps! You might find the Open Green Map is a great way to illuminate your community as well. If we can help you participate by mail and email, click Contact for details. We also offer various services for youth projects, learn more opportunities in Services for Youth Projects.