Empowering Maine's Next Generation of Environmental Leaders
On September 15-16 2016, MEEA brought together a dynamic group of both emerging and established environmental leaders. Gathering at the Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Lincolnville, a mix of forty young and experienced environmental leaders tackled some challenging questions:
How should we empower, support, and amplify the voice of Maine’s new generation of environmental leaders?
How can we attain racial, economic, and geographic diversity within our environmental leadership?
What are effective pathways to environmental leadership for Maine’s high school-aged, college-aged, and young professionals?
The participants were selected through an application process that was designed to assemble a potent mix of leaders of all ages from environmental education, sustainability, environmental justice, and/or local, sustainable food systems. Preference was given to those who represent or work with under-served audiences and communities in Maine and who could contribute to the work of broadening and diversifying Maine’s environmental sector.
This gathering was made possible in part by a grant from the national EECapacity project (www.eecapacity.net). EECapacity supports projects that bring new voices, ideas, and innovation to environmental education. This project builds upon a youth empowerment focus that MEEA has been pursing in the past few years. The New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA) was also awarded a similar grant and convened the New England Emerging Leaders' Summit at Common Ground High School in New Haven this past April.
Ultimately, the goal of the project is to empower environmental education leaders with the knowledge, skills, and support they need in order to offer diverse youth populations experiences that go beyond nature engagement opportunities and go on to authentic experiences that lead to lasting connections and transformative community action.