Power of Nature Youth Art Exhibit 2022

Showcasing nature-based solutions to climate change through art.

High schoolers from around the San Francisco Bay Area participated in our art contest to illustrate climate solutions inspired by nature. Here are the top pieces!

Greenbelt Alliance, in partnership with the Bay Area Youth Climate Summit, proudly present the Power of Nature Youth Art Exhibit to showcase the winning pieces from our 2022 contest, which called on high school students from around the San Francisco Bay Area to showcase nature-based solutions to climate change.

Nature-based solutions are initiatives that work with/use nature to combat climate change impacts, provide benefits for people, and promote biodiversity. Finding solutions requires deep engagement with those who will be the most impacted: the next generation of climate leaders and activists.

The winners of the Power of Nature Youth Art Contest 2022 used resources like Greenbelt Alliance’s Resilience Playbook to skillfully demonstrate their individual opinions about what nature-based solutions are and what role they can play in making our community more resilient to the effects of climate change.


1st Place


By Naomie Chien

2nd Place

Below the Surface

By Kyan Shlipak

3rd Place

Replenish Our Forests

By Sophia Eilersen

About the Artwork

Naomie Chien Art Contest 2022

Artist: Naomie Chien

From: Mountain View, CA | The Nueva School

About Naomie’s Piece:The “soul” of my work originates from the concept of ocean upwelling. In upwelling, nutrient rich ocean water can be pumped upwards into oligotrophic waters in order to facilitate more phytoplankton growth, sustainable ocean ecosystems, and overall general health of the ocean. Specifically, by accelerating phytoplankton growth, we can create a carbon-negative cycle where the plankton absorbs CO2, filters O2, and stores away CO2 after death by falling to the bottom of the ocean—a carbon-capture-solution to climate change. I incorporated this theory through multiple ways in my work: highlighting the cyan water with viridescent plankton floating at the surface, painting bubbles in relation to certain air pumps that can be used for artificial upwelling, including marine animals to represent a healthy ecosystem, among other things. Some may be wondering why I chose to use a transcendent-looking human to represent this natural climate solution. I hope that with my piece, I can incite optimism in the relationships between us and the planet. I hope that my piece provokes a feeling of movement, action, and ambition. Along with the upwards movement of the bubbles, I hope that we can keep advocating “upwards” for our planet and future generations.”

Artist: Kyan Shlipak

From: San Francisco, CA | Lick-Wilmerding High School

About Kyan’s Piece: “These are “fraternal twinned” rings I originally designed and hand made out of sheet metal. One is made of 18 gauge brass and the other 18 gauge nickel. Both were cut, filed, textured, annealed, formed, soldered, and patinated to achieve the silhouetted tree and root aesthetic.

The relationship between a tree and its roots can be seen as a metaphor for nature-based solutions to climate change. For every bright, gold, shiny, successful solution, there must be a network of planning, hard work, and dedicated behind-the-scenes activists. In addition, trees are arguably our planet’s oldest, simplest, and most effective solution to climate change. Sometimes, you don’t need to invent a high-tech carbon sequestering device; you just need to plant a tree. The forests in and around the Bay Area are already over-tasked with providing habitats to refugee animal populations and offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions of a major urban population center. The least we can do is protect them.”

Below the Surface Kyan Shlipak
Sophia Eilersen Art Contest 2022

Artist: Sophie Eilersen

From: Brentwood, CA | Heritage High School

About Sophie’s Piece: “My piece of art work, a painting, depicts a nature based solution to the environmental impacts of climate change. One of the big things we can do to better our community and recover part of what was lost is to protect remaining forests and repopulate them. This means putting a stop to deforestation and minimizing effects of acid deposition and soil erosion. By creating protected and stable climax ecosystems, we can welcome more biodiversity and create new habitats. The intense and specific place forests hold in our communities are often brushed past and over looked but in many areas, forests are home to majorities of the plant and animal species. Take for example the amazon rain forest that houses over 3 million different species. In conclusion, a solution to the anthropogenic impacts we have had on forests and a nature-based solution to combating climate change, is to allow our forests the opportunity to regrow and strengthen protections on the ones we have.”


Trees Are Trying So Should We

By Elsie Gustafson

Positive Feedback Loop (Forest Fires)

By Enis Martinez


Contestants for the Power of Nature Youth Art Contest were asked to submit compelling artwork that demonstrates nature-based solution concepts as a way forward for specific environmental challenges, such as wildfires, floods, temperature increase, sea level rise, pollution, etc. The first place winner received a U.S. National Park Annual Pass and $250 REI Gift Card. The second place winner received a U.S. National Park Annual Pass and $50 REI Gift Card. And the third place winner received a U.S. National Park Annual Pass. Full contest guidelines can be viewed here


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