Youth Environmental Leadership Program

Young people are quickly learning that unless they take an active role in changing the environmental attitudes and daily practices around them, the environment and their living conditions will continue to worsen. Encouraging and teaching youth in China to take on leadership roles in their community and schools is vital for China’s environmental future.

The National Geographic Society (NGS) has worked with the Shangri-la Institute for Sustainable Communities (SISC) to implement a grant-making program in China, aiming to mentor students to make a significant, tangible, and positive difference toward a better environment and life, and a stronger community and civil society.

In order to concentrate its efforts and to have a more comprehensive effect the project will focus on the Yangtze River Basin. Our hope is that innovations and solutions along the Yangtze will create national attention and similar efforts in other parts of China.



The project provides a platform for students in a process of learning and action through significant projects in the environment and with communities for the restoration and maintenance of the ecosystem of the Yangtze River. It helps students develop high-quality, sustainable school-community leadership projects within their local ecosystem that will lead to knowledge, skill and commitment within the communities to better understand and care for their environment.

The program aims to tackle this issue with student-directed, interdisciplinary, hands-on strategies that link student learning with real local watershed needs. In the process and with the help of chosen experts, students have the opportunity to hone their skills ranging from monitoring and evaluation to management and publication. We wish to help students develop a sense of place in nature, an awareness that they can make a difference, and a lifelong quest for knowledge about the environment.


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