Young Environmentalist Society (YES!)


SOFO’s Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) is led by Mare Dianora, an interdisciplinary artist whose practice involves building community and creating connections to home and place. YES! is open to young environmentalists, aged 10-16 (and Junior members ages 5-9), who want to help prevent climate change as they discuss various challenges and ideas that can impact our precious environment. The program includes guest speakers and field trips and explores topics such as climate change, aquaculture, environmental career goals, water conservation, local ecology, and more. 

YES! Programs

From hiking to pumpkin carving to designing architecture to accomodate for rising seas... SOFO's YES! has done it all! Find out more about past activities we have done by reading the Autumn 2022 SOFO Naturalist Footnotes The SOFO Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) written by YES! Director Mare Dianora.



Interested in Joining YES! ?

Find out about the next meeting and join our group of Young Environmentalists! Email or call us at (631) 537-9735.




YES! in the Press

YES! has been making a name for itself in the local community! Read our mentions from the press below.






YES! Updates


April 28th 2024: In April 2024, the Young Environmentalists Society hosted "Islandwide Weather" for a public program that featured a forecast on the Summer and hurricane seasons. In addition to the forecasts, they educated us on the different weather systems and models - it was fantastic information.

2024 YES! Updates

April 8th 2024: YES! had an amazing gathering at the Vineyard Field for the eclipse on April 8th. We shared food, had a scavenger hunt, worked on National Parks Junior Ranger programs and enjoyed spending time together and with friends to watch this amazing phenomenon. We were so lucky with the warm weather and were in awe how much the temperature dropped when the sun disappeared!


March 16th 2024: The Young Environmentalists took their first field trip to the Hall Of Sciences in Queens, NY. It was a fantastic day of hands-on projects and collaborative work. The kids (and parents!) had such a fun day!


January 20th 2024: The Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) was thrilled to work with Sam and Sue at The Church in Sag Harbor for a second monoprinting workshop. We had so much fun using materials from our own garden at the museum for several of our prints!


2023 YES! Updates

December 17th 2023: We had a busy and fun in-person meeting at the museum. We worked on thank you notes to our collaborators, brainstormed about the season to come and had a noni juice taste test after watching video footage from Sun Farm Hawaii (organic farm) on Oahu in Hawaii. We ended our program with our annual Q-Bitz Tournament where member, Sam, holds on tight to his championship title. 

November 4th 2023: The Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) hosted a Harvest Celebration as a thank you for our program collaborators. We thank "What the Falafel" for their generous donation of pita and hummus. It was such a lovely afternoon and thank you all who came to support our group!


October 21st 2023: We had our final session of oyster farming today and prepared the cages to over-winter. We were lucky to get in our session before the temperatures dropped.

October 14th 2023: This evening we hosted our second collaboration with the Sag Harbor Cinema. The Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) presented the documentary "Understory" which was introduced by local arborist, Jackson Dodds. We also presented a slideshow of our programs over the last year to show the public all of the fun things we have been working on!

October 3rd 2023: We are so proud to complete our fourth episode of "YES! Presents..." with collaboration with LTV Studios in East Hampton, NY. Host, Lilian, interviews Melanie Meade from SOFO about how bird strikes are a common occurrence during migration and how acopian bird savers can help prevent these (often fatal) strikes.

September 2023: In September 2023, YES! members reinstalled our “acopian bird savers” on the windows to prevent bird strikes on the museum’s many windows!

August 2023: YES! members work on maintaining our museum garden and continue our Oyster Farming project in East Hampton. 

July 23rd 2023: Sam, Zianya and Saoirse had so much fun filming our next “Young Environmentalists (YES!) Presents”… episode with Barley Dunne at the LTV Studio in East Hampton, NY.

July 6th 2023: The Young Environmentalists hosted artist, Ruby Jackson, to guide us in creating clay animals - with a focus on endangered (and some imaginary!) animals.

June 23rd 2023: In June, we hiked the Mulvihill Preserve to visit a young eagle in its nest. Along the way, we endured the rain and met a few friends as we went along! 

June 15th 2023: YES! invited the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center to the museum for some fun together. The kids planted pumpkins and herbs in the YES! garden. We took a tour of the Vineyard trail behind the museum where we were greeted by a Black Racer snake. It was a hot and eventful visit. We look forward to future collaborations! 







May 29th 2023: YES! members, Adrie and Saoirse, weed and prepare the YES! garden for another season!







April 24th 2023: The Young Environmentalists had the pleasure of attending a “Rising Seas” architecture workshop with Nilay Oza and the staff of his firm “Oza Sabbeth Architects." The kids worked in groups to design projects that anticipated increased flooding and water-rise with a focus on the municipal lot and surrounding areas in Sag Harbor, NY! 

April 5th 2023: The Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) had the pleasure to tour the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery in Montauk, NY with Barley Dunne. It was an important component of our shellfish and aquaculture education.

March 2023: YES! members host Frank Quevedo, SOFO's Executive Director, for our first LTV episode called "YES! Presents...!" at the LTV Studio in East Hampton, NY.

February 25th 2023: The Young Environmentalists Society (YES!) had an amazing collaboration with "The Church" in Sag Harbor, NY where printmakers, Sam Havens and Susan Bachemin, led our group through a nature printmaking workshop- and shared the process of monotyping. The kids looked at natural objects in a new way while playing with color, layout, and texture. It was an amazing experience and we look forward to exhibiting the prints in the future!

February 6th 2023: The YES! kids had an amazing virtual visit to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Ranger Dan gave us an interactive overview of the park and especially the glaciers. Our focus as habitat, wildlife, and signs of climate change. I think we were all inspired to learn more about this beautiful environment! (

January 17th 2023: The YES! members had the pleasure of meeting (on Zoom) the author of our most recent YES! book- that we read and discussed with Jillian Worssam (earlier in the month). Benjamin Shaw is the author of Operation Hurricane ( and lives south of London- so we really appreciate his late- night Zoom to accomodate our after-school schedule! The kids had so much fun listening to his process and learning about his character development and everything that went into his novel writing. It has inspired us to do some writing of our won. We are very much looking forward to reading about the continuing adventures of Benjamin Boyd!

January 2023: YES! took advantage of the beautiful (yet windy) weather to hike Barcelona Preserve in Sag Harbor, NY. We had so much fun catching up and planning our programs together as we hiked!


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2022 YES! Updates

December 2022: YES! Members had the last meeting of the year to take care of business and plan our projects for early 2023. In addition, we spent some time together having fun- eating pizza and playing the game Q-Bitz- where member, Sam, is an undefeated champion.

December 10, 2022: The YES! kids met up with Jesse Matsuoka from SEN Japanese restaurant along with his assistant Putu for a sushi making workshop. Jesse and Putu brought in a fluke and a sea bass that were caught earlier that morning in Montauk, NY. Jesse talked to the kids about sustainable fishing, sources for fish, aquaculture, and how they do not waste any part of the fish.  We all learned so much-- AND also had our turn at learning how to make several types of sushi, which parts of the fish are used, and how to eat it all. The kids loved every second of this opportunity and every parent stayed for it as well!

December 9, 2022: SOFO YES! had a Rising Seas Workshop at BHCCRC.

October 2022: The YES! members visited the Mecox Bay Dairy- owned by the Ludlow Farm in Bridgehampton, NY. Art Ludlow gave us a tour of the farm and talked to us about the history of the land, the importance of local farms, and his journey into making cheese. We learned about his different products and we all enjoyed our cheese tasting!

October 2022: YES! had our final oyster meeting of the year. We were able to take oysters home to eat and share. We will begin our oyster farming adventures again in late May 2023. These kids (and their parents!) worked hard all season and we had so much fun with this project and Denise!

September 2022: The YES! group and their families took a tour of the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, NY. We learned how they tend their organic gardens and we were all inspired by the beauty of this inspiring space. We Joined Barley again on a boat trip to help seed the bay with oysters and learn about sustainable shellfish farming. Our group seeded 14,750 oysters directly into Napeague Harbor!


August 2022: In August, the YES! group had the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. Carl Safina in a public program at the museum. The kids read several of Dr. Safina's books and presented him with questions they prepared ahead of time. We also continued our oyster farming collaboration with Denise in East Hampton.


July 2022: In July, we had the pleasure of continue our oyster farming project with our collaborator, Denise, in East Hampton. We also had some work and harvesting with our own YES garden. Our group took a field trip to meet with Barley Dunne at the East Hampton Township Aquaculture Nursery in Springs. We ended the month with another round of tending to our oysters in East Hampton


June 2022: In June we hosted Mario Dianora to demonstrate how Ham Radios work and are part of our emergency system in case of storms or other emergencies. We also had the pleasure of beginning our oyster farming with our collaborator, Denise - as we started this project that will run through the Fall.


May 2022: YES members started May 2022 by mentoring younger kids in seed planting for YES garden. Members each planted sunflowers that we will watch grow through the season and leave in the garden through the Winter to feed the birds. We started an ongoing project of creating "Pesticide-Free" signs for the community for folks who would like to advertise they are not spraying their gardens and lawns with pesticides. We ended the month with a Zoom meeting to the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan where a NPS park ranger discussed with us how they are seeing climate change evidence within their park.


April 2022: In early April, YES members present the movie “What’s On Your Plate” for screening for museum members and ended the program by inviting junior members to a seed planting program in May. On April 11th, YES members zoom with a national park ranger at the Coronado National Monument to discuss the loss of a key species and signs of climate change within the park. We ended the month with our in-person meeting at the SOFO Earth Day Open House where YES members help kids make bird masks and speak about their bird migration projects.


March 2022: We started March with YES members meeting with Jillian Worsaam to present and discuss their “Weather Challenge” projects in response to our Spring Book discussion. Our next meeting was on Zoom where YES members meet with Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Colorado. YES member, Ollie, contacted Travis Livieri, executive director, about their work with the endangered black-footed ferret and prairie dogs. On March 27th, YES members meet to have a work session to assemble bird migration posters with their individual research. They created sample bird masks and prepare materials for their SOFO Earth Day table. We ended the month with YES members meeting with Jillian to discuss the “Mutant Mushroom Takeover” book and have the new challenge presented - due May 2022.

February 11, 2022: YES members meet with meteorologist, Charlie Phillips, in Portland, Oregon to discuss his career path in wind energy. Members ask questions about weather trends around the country.

January 28, 2022: Zoom with YES members and the Honolulu Office of Climate ChangeSustainability and Resiliency. Discuss the “Climate Action Plan” and similarities between Oahu and Long Island. Question and answer session with the HNL office and YES members.

January 22, 2022: Book discussion of “Weather Detectives” with Jillian Worssam on Zoom.

January 2, 2022: Snowy Owl and Seal hike in Shinnecock East - Southampton, NY.


2021 YES! Updates

December 18, 2021: YES in person meeting: owl walk, pizza and movie party.

December 14, 2021: YES members zoom with David Christopher (Marine Education Specialist) from the University of Delaware department of Oceanography in Lewes, DE  to discuss on-going programs at the university, educational opportunities and career paths.

December 7, 2021: YES members zoom with Shinara Sunderial, the education outreach coordinator at the Billion Oyster Project in New York City. Shinara teaches the group about all of their projects and how they are helping restore the oyster reefs in New York Harbor.

November 20, 2021: YES members and families tour Riverhead Foundation Marine Rescue facility in Riverhead to see procedures for rescued marine life. Several members became “Cold Stunned Certified” via zoom ahead of tour. 

November 17, 2021: YES tour of the Billion Oyster Project facility on Governors Island in NYC.

November 13, 2021: YES members present the movie “What’s On Your Plate” for screening for museum members and discussion of issues presented in movie.

November 12, 2021: YES members meet (on Zoom) with Mark Kurlansky - author of “World Without Fish” to discuss his book - focusing on updates in the industry since the book was written.

November 2, 2021: Mare meets with David Christopher (Marine Education Specialist) from the University of Delaware department of Oceanography in Lewes, DE  to discuss on-going programs at the university, climate change and initiatives of outreach.

November 1, 2021: YES members meet (on Zoom) with Sag Harbor Village environmental committee member, Kathleen, to discuss “pesticide-free” sign production to be distributed in the village.

October 26, 2021: World Without Fish” solutions presentations from YES members addressing how to control over-fishing and other issues with the commercial fishing industry. 

October 25, 2021: YES members win 1st place for Bridgehampton Pumpkin Carving Contest in “Protest” category for “World Without Fish” project.

October 24, 2021: World Without Fish” themed group pumpkin carving workshop - members carve pumpkins featuring individual fish to bring attention to overfishing.

September 11, 2021: YES members will offer a free community screening of “Bag It”
documentary outside SOFO museum.

August 31, 2021: YES trip to East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery in Amagansett, New York. 

August 26, 2021: Sofia and John Witzenbocker of Sag Harbor Honey Company to speak about
beekeeping and organic gardening.

July 27, 2021: Zoom meeting with Sage Lenier with “The Story of Stuff” about plastic reduction.

July 10, 2021: YES tour of Andy Sabin’s organic farm in Amagansett, NY.

July 6, 2021: Members present their projects for Endangered Species campaigns to Jillian
Worssam for their book discussion climate challenge.

June 19-20, 2021: YES overnight camping trip at SOFO

June 1, 2021: Zoom meeting with Jillian Worssam (NOAA Education scientist) to discuss our latest book, "Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen. Jillian presented the next climate challenge to the group.

May 4 and 25, 2021: Jillian Worssam (NOAA Education scientist) presents her collection of bones, skin, teeth, skulls and defines and explains "dichotomous key."

April 25, 2021: YES! members met to create newspaper pots to start seeds for our group garden. Each member will be a "plant steward" and care for plants that will be returned to our group garden at SOFO. Each member also planted a watermelon and pumpkin that will remain at their homes and we will have a contest for the best end results.

April - July 2021: The YES program was invited to participate in the "Earth: Artists as Activists" exhibition which is curated by Amy Kerwin at the Southampton Arts Center.

March 19, 2021: Group hike in Poxabogue County Park in Bridgehampton, NY with leaders: Margarette and Dermot Doyle. Presentation about the American Woodcock ahead of the walk.

March 16 2021: Zoom meeting with Jillian Worssam (NOAA Education scientist) as members present their "Zoo Solutions" for their climate contest based on book discussion.

March 3, 2021: Zoom meeting with YES members to discuss Spring and Summer planning and ideas of how to spend our time together. 

February 23, 2021: Zoom meeting with Jillian Worssam (NOAA Education scientist) to discuss our latest book, "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate.

February 6, 2021: Group hike for members and families in Barcelona Neck in Sag Harbor, NY.

February 27, 2021: YES members design architecture and infrastructure to accommodate rising seas and superstorms with LEGO. Each member writes an essay about their project and all are placed on display in the museum.

January 2021: YES members were invited to create an outdoor group project for Guild Hall's Student Art Annual in East Hampton, New York. Members complete individual windmills for our group project "East End Wind Farm."


2020 YES! Updates

December 2020: We had two meetings for YES this month. Our first meeting was on December 15th via Zoom with Jillian Worssam. Jillian invited the members to create a presentation of a migratory species. Five members presented a variety of species. We also agreed to go forward with our next book discussion featuring "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate.

Our second meeting was in person with Frank Quevedo who gave our group an informative owl presentation. We followed by going on a walk to two locations locally to try and spot owls. Although we were unsuccessful, the members left with confidence to go on their own owl walks.

In addition to our meetings, our group has been asked by Guild Hall to participate in the Student Art Festival. After much discussion, the members have decided to create a mini wind farm with each participant creating their own designed set of propellers. This month has been busy with distributing and planning for that project. We are all looking forward to seeing that come together. 

November 21, 2020: YES Members met for a hike at the Seal Haulout trail in Montauk. We had about 20 people (members and their families) join the hike and the weather could not have been more perfect. We were lucky to see about 10 seals both in the water and on the rocks. The group took a photo to send to our collaborator, Jillian Worssam, in Arizona. In December, she will be hosting a Migration Contest for the gorup - and we discussed the seals as a possible migration project for the members.

November 17, 2020: Zoom meeting with Jillian Worssam (NOAA Education scientist) to discuss our latest book, "The Wild Robot Escapes" by Peter Brown.

October 2020: We had our beach clean up this past Saturday with the YES members and their families at Long Beach. Jill Kampf from Surfrider Foundation did a water quality lecture and demonstration for us ahead of the clean up. We all learned what they are testing for and the sources of those pollutants. It was a crazy windy - but beautiful day! We collected lots of tiny tiny plastic pieces, 87 cigarette butts and other litter big and small. 

September 2020: Our YES program was very busy during the month of September with our fundraiser to benefit CAMFED - The Campaign for Female Education in Africa. The YES members collaborated to create and self-publish their own cookbook of favorite recipes for sale at our fundraising table on September 13, 2020. In addition, we raffled off many generous donations from our local community. We were overwhelmed and so thankful for the abundance of support. Our group raised over $2000 for CAMFED and this will enable several girls in Africa to attend school for one year. The members presented the check 'in person' via Zoom to the CAMFED staff in both NYC and San Francisco and members were able to ask direct questions about how the money is practically distributed. It was a very special experience for our group. 

August 2020: August was a busy month for our YES! members! We have decided as a group to do some fundraising during the month of September for the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED). We met several times to brainstorm and get organized for this event. The kids had to come up with clever ideas in this age of COVID - so they decided to create a cookbook that they would sell with their own recipes. This took quite a bit of organizing to collect them all and have them presented in the same format. It was a group effort and slowly we made progress until all of the recipes were submitted and the books could be bound together. 

In addition to the fundraiser preparations, we met again with our NOAA climate scientist friend, Jillian Worssam,(via Zoom - as she is in Arizona) to discuss the book "The Wild Robot" by Peter Brown. Jillian offered the kids to run another contest for them - this time they would be creating food webs for a habitat of their choice. The group also voted on the next book to discuss with Jillian and it was an overwhelming majority - it was decided we will continue with the series and read "The Wild Robot Escapes." Our meeting for that discussion will be in October.

July 31, 2020: On Thursday, July 23,  several members of our group met with Jillian Worssam (via Zoom) to present their projects which explored the creation of an invention or device to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Four members presented their ideas and Jillian responded to their presentations with praise for their ingenuity and questions for each about how their ideas can be improved and what further aspects they might consider (such as cost, placement, noise, size considerations). She felt each was so unique in its approach that she was unable to pick one ‘winner.” All four participants eagerly await a prize from Arizona.

We had our first in-person meeting on Saturday, July 25, and it was exciting to be together.  Our special guest was Scott Bluedorn, a local artist, environmentalist and activist.  Scott brought a diverse selection of artworks to inspire our group in the forms of drawing, printmaking and sculptures made from found objects from our local nature. He spoke to the group about his process and what inspires him. He gave some advice about how to approach the YES! logo design the members are now working on and which will be submitted before the next meeting.

July 17, 2020: Our YES members have been very busy these last few weeks! Several members have come by the museum to meet me and pick up their new book for our July book discussion with climate scientist, Jillian Worssam. I also had the chance to show the garden to the members and their families for the first time! Everyone was incredibly excited to be there in person and see everything first hand. 

 We met for our latest Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 9th. According to the 2040 film, which we watched as a group, “Educating girls and empowering women is one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways for every nation on this planet to take positive action on climate change.” Our YES members have decided to take on some fundraising to raise money to pay for a year’s school tuition for a girl in Africa. We are brainstorming on how we can fundraise and organizations to support and we are excited to announce our plans as we finish our research. I am so energized by the creativity of the group! 

 This week, we will be having an extra meeting to welcome a special guest, Lauren Ringler from Ocean First Institute. Lauren will be speaking about her zero waste goal, the organization – and their mission. We look forward to hearing what Lauren has to share with the group this week!

June 19, 2020: On Friday, June 12th, our group had the pleasure of viewing (virtually) the film 2040 by director Damon Gameau which shows a glimpse into a future filled with hope and solutions. I received such positive feedback from the members (and several parents) who completely enjoyed the movie and found it informative, positive and sometimes funny.

Following the film, our group met Tuesday afternoon and we had Krae Van Sickle attend and speak to the group about both the film and his organization, “Drawdown East End.” Krae grew up on a biodynamic farm in California and has a lifetime of practice in conservation. He helped set up the Land Preservation Fund for the East End and explained to our group how a certain amount of money from each real estate purchase goes into a fund to purchase land to be preserved. Since that fund was started, over 10,000 acres in our region has been spared development. In addition, Krae talked to us about several of the “Drawdown” principles to reverse global warming. This program was developed by the organization’s founder, Paul Hawken and outlined in his 2017 book “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” We discussed ideas about a plant-rich diet, food waste, green buildings and energy audits for homes to detect ways to reduce our impact on the environment right in our own homes.

Krae’s biggest message to the students was that the most important thing you can personally do for climate change is to talk about it with your families, at your schools and in your community.

We are looking forward to concluding our book discussion on “The Big Melt” by Ned Tillman with Jillian Worssam (from Flagstaff, Arizona) who is a regional leader for the NOAA Climate Stewards program. We will be discussing both the book and more solutions we can take forward to help our planet.

June 2, 2020: On Thursday, May 28, we had our YES! meeting via Zoom with seven members joining the discussion with our special guest, Elisa Ringholm from the Story of Stuff organization. We discussed how the environment is in crisis and what would be the best use of our time as a group. Elisa shared some amazing resources and we discussed her organization’s short films about topics of local and global interest: single use water bottles, electronics, cosmetics, microbeads and microfibers. Each member had the opportunity to ask Elisa questions including how we determine which sunscreens are safe for our body and the environment and how can we manage all of the recent pollution caused by people leaving masks and gloves everywhere. In the coming weeks, we will be hosting a digital viewing of the first feature-length documentary “The Story of Plastic” courtesy of the Story of Stuff.

The YES! program garden boxes at the museum have been taking shape. The vegetable starters the members planted on our first meeting in February have grown tall and are ready to be transplanted. The boxes (which had become quite overgrown!) have been tilled and weeded and we have received a generous 5 cubic yard soil donation from Marders Nursery in Bridgehampton, NY. The soil will be distributed into our three large garden boxes and the plants will be placed for best growth. We thank Marders Nursery for supporting our program. Everyone is very excited to see our project move forward.

YES! Presents

The Young Environmentalists Society is excited to announce our new TV series called "YES! Presents..." in collaboration with LTV in East Hampton.

YES! Photo Gallery

YES! Video Gallery


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