South Coast AQMD’s Air Quality Education Programs Reach More than 31,000 Students

The end of the 2021-2022 school year marks the South Coast AQMD’s most successful year to date for its free air quality educations programs. Together, the Why Healthy Air Matters (WHAM) and Clean Air Program for Elementary Students (CAPES) programs reached more than 31,000 students since 2019. The programs prioritize schools and youth organizations in environmental justice communities who are most impacted by air pollution and are part of the agency’s mission to educate students that breathing healthy air is their right.

The WHAM program introduces students to academic and career paths they can take to help clean the air. Students in the WHAM program learn about air quality through a hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based curriculum featuring four lessons on air quality regulations, air chemistry, health effects of air pollution, air pollution sources and reducing air pollution.

The CAPES program educates kindergarten through 6th grade students about the importance of air quality, the impact of air pollution, and actions students can take to improve the environment. As part of the program, students are equipped with tools to make healthier, clean air choices.

In the 2021-22 school year, WHAM was implemented in a total of 409 classrooms in 70 high schools and 45 middle schools within the agency’s jurisdiction reaching more than 10,000 middle and high school aged students. CAPES was implemented in a total of 90 schools, reaching more than 6,000 students throughout South Coast AQMD’s jurisdiction.

Both programs are available at no cost for eligible schools, youth groups, clubs and organizations. Registration for the 2022-23 school year is currently open for eligible elementary, middle schools, high schools, youth groups, clubs and organizations. For more information, please visit:

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

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