ATLANTA, Ga. — Earth Tomorrow, the National Wildlife Federation’s environmental justice and youth leadership program primarily for Black and youth of color, celebrated its 20-year anniversary. The program helps foster a new generation of environmental stewards through a year-long cycle of civic engagement, community action projects, career development and outdoor exploration.
First started in Atlanta in 2001, the program has worked with over 5,000 youth on environmental service-learning and communication action projects that have benefited frontline communities addressing environmental justice challenges. Students have also volunteered time to work on projects in Georgia state parks, National Park Service properties, USDA Forest Service lands, and urban forests and nature centers.
“Access to the outdoors, particularly for student who live in cities, has been deeply unequal for far too long, keeping Black, Indigenous and communities of color disconnected from opportunities for outdoor recreation, careers in conservation, and simply enjoying nature without the common barriers we know exist for youth of color,” said Crystal Jennings, senior manager for youth leadership programs, who leads Earth Tomorrow for the National Wildlife Federation. “For 20 years, Earth Tomorrow has worked with communities to provide opportunities for youth to explore, learn, and develop a deep appreciation for the outdoors while leading projects and taking action to protect the people and wildlife that benefit from clean air, clean water, less pollution and other environmental benefits thus ensuring environmental justice for all. We look forward to working with thousands of students across the country to continue cultivating the next generation of environmental stewards.”
“I’ve been an Earth Tomorrow member since my 9th grade year of high school. I was one of those students who knew nothing about conservation or environmental justice, but became an activist after learning and training with this program. I knew in high school that my career was going to involve environmentalism and wildlife,” said Joshua Bellamy, an alumni of the program. “Earth Tomorrow helped shape my interest and advanced me along my career pathway. There isn’t any program like the Earth Tomorrow program!”
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