Register for the 2021/22 Climate Innovation Challenge!

The Climate Innovation Challenge (CIC) cultivates student leaders who can think innovatively and communicate effectively about adapting to our changing climate.

CIC is a STEAM program developed by CAVU that challenges students to create unique ideas on adapting to increasing climate impacts like floods, fires, drought, rising temperatures, and sea-level rise. We encourage students to “think globally and adapt locally,” creating solutions to implement themselves in their communities.  

Understanding climate change is not just about science. It is about understanding the human and cultural impacts on our communities. Climate change will be the defining challenge of our students’ lives as it will impact everything from their environment and health to their culture and global economy. Working on adaptation projects provides an opportunity for children to approach climate change from a new perspective and develop solutions that create local, concrete, visible improvement in quality of life. 

The planet needs an all-hands-on-deck approach to manage the climate impacts our communities are already experiencing. The problem’s scope may seem daunting, but we have hope because we are investing in our students. They will lead us towards solutions and build resilience in the face of these new challenges.

Join CAVU in creating thought-leaders for the next generation! 

CIC Successes!

Students submitted


more climate adaptation projects in 2021!

CIC on TV!

Counties Represented


students submitted



Students Interviewed by

Statewide Radio

Listen Here!

The Curriculum

CIC uniquely puts students in the driver's seat and asks them: what solutions can you think of to protect yourselves, your home, your family, or your local ecosystems from climate change?
The FREE program consists of six distinct lessons and up to ten total class periods for students to develop their projects. CAVU provides an extensive curriculum to participating classrooms designed to complement Next Generation Science Standards (NGGS) for middle school students. The curriculum’s built-in flexibility allows it to serve older and younger students as well.
CIC teaches critical concepts of climate science, adaptation, and video production in interactive ways. The process is as fun and engaging as it is academically robust.

The Challenge

The annual Climate Innovation Challenge prompts students to present their innovative ideas in short videos. We showcase their ideas with education, public and private sector, and community leaders. This process gives students an opportunity to have a voice in the plans for their own futures which makes the climate crisis seem more manageable and the solutions more achievable.

Projects define specific climate vulnerabilities or impacts to places, traditions, values, or behaviors and offer a creative adaptation solution.
A panel of judges evaluates the submissions, and students receive awards for outstanding projects in various categories. Top submissions are featured during the annual Student Showcase, including a ceremony with monetary awards for outstanding entries.

Congratulations to the top Prize winners!

CIC 2021 Keynote Speaker: Delaney Reynolds

Introducing our 2021 keynote speaker, Delaney Reynolds, youth climate activist of the Sink or Swim Project (

MacGyver Award – Best in Show

“Saving Water with Aquaponics” by Benjamin B., 7th grader, Santa Fe Prep

Teacher: Robin Koval

Outstanding Entry – Middle School

“Microbes for Earth” by Maggie L., 7th grader at Santa Fe Prep

Teacher: Robin Koval

Outstanding Entry – Elementary School

“Milkweed” by Gabriella D., 5th grader at Amy Biehl Community School

Teacher: Malcolm Smith

Outstanding Entry – High School

“Seagrass for Climate” by Emma H., 11th grader at Armand Hammer United World College of the American West

Teacher: Aaron Yang