The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) hosted the 5th Annual Student Climate and Conservation Congress (SC3) for one week in June 2013. The Congress is a collaborative effort with the Green Schools Alliance, a coalition of over 1,500 schools in the United States and other nations motivated to improve the ecological sustainability of their schools. At SC3, students were empowered to become environmental leaders, gaining the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to address natural resource challenges and to better serve their schools and home communities. Each year since 2009, SC3 has brought together 100 of the best and brightest high school student leaders, individually selected by their schools to take part in developing an enhanced understanding of conservation science and sustainability. SC3 participants represent a broad diversity of youth from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities.
During SC3, students interacted with some of the top conservation leaders in the country with varied expertise in ecology, climate science, sustainability, and community development. The students also participated in various service learning projects as well as environmental science workshops to provide hands-on education and an introduction to tools that can be utilized in their communities. While working with adult mentors and conservation leaders, students used Open Space Technology to identify and analyze key conservation issues and solutions, including endangered species, The Land Ethic, green campus design and operation, environmental careers, and the role of effective communication in building effective solutions to complex conservation issues. Students designed their final projects to augment their efforts back in their own communities and serve as models for student peers across the country.
The recent graduates of SC3 returned to their schools and communities with an individual action plan to implement a wide-range conservation projects as part of a national service program involving their classmates, teachers, and school administrators. And they had a blast at SC3—meeting fellow aspiring youth leaders from across the country, canoeing down the Potomac River, and having conversations around the campfire under a full moon.
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July 2, 2013
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