Building Leadership in the Environmental Movement: Education, Environmental Literacy, and Youth Engagement

Host Organization: Southern California Grantmakers


In September, we witnessed perhaps the largest ever demonstration of youth leadership in the environmental movement, with global climate strikes taking place from Australia to Seattle, Paris to Los Angeles, to protest inaction on climate change. Helping to lay the groundwork, each year hundreds of thousands of students in Southern California engage in environmental education and environmental literacy programs, from classroom projects to leadership cohorts. These programs share common goals of increasing awareness, understanding, and appreciation for natural systems, and developing youth voice and perspective on the issues.

How can grantmakers continue to support and cultivate this next generation of environmental leaders? This convening will bring together multiple environmental education and leadership development programs to share stories of success and dig deeper to understand underlying themes making these programs work. We’ll also address opportunities to scale and network these initiatives in order to deepen their impact. Given the complexity and diversity of the environmental movement, this session will weave together multiple issues including environmental justice, land conservation, park access, air and water quality, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to hear short presentations from the speakers, engage in a group dialog, and split up into smaller groups for a more focused conversation. After the formal program, we invite you to continue informal conversations over lunch, which will be served.

In line with the theme of this program, the Audubon Center is itself a site for environmental education. Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to and from the center, and if desired, can spend time before or after the formal program exploring the grounds, which include a short hiking loop, a courtyard, and more.

The SCG Environmental Funders Group meets a few times a year to educate prospective and current environmental funders about environmental challenges and opportunities in Southern California as well as fostering collaboration and to share successes and challenges. Please contact Katy Pelissier at katy@socalgrantmakers.org for more information or visit the group’s page on the Southern California Grantmakers’ website.  Co-hosted by Blue Sky Funders Forum, Environmental Grantmakers Association, and Smart Growth California.

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